BMC addresses plastic menace with ban

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and police have targeted the small-scale vendors and hawkers who continue to disregard the ill-effects of single-use plastics.

15 Aug 2023 | By Aditya Ghosalkar

BMC’s anti-plastic drive

BMC revealed that it has seized around 4,905 kilos of single-use plastic (SUP), thinner than 50 microns in Mumbai since July 2022 and collected Rs 76 lakh in fines. This was last year. In 2023, the civic body will “aggressively” strike on hawkers, vendors and small-scale retailers for using banned plastic material while carrying out business transactions with customers from August 2023.

To achieve this, MPCB officials and Mumbai Police, BMC have formed 24 ward-level teams. The plastic seizure will be initiated from 21 August onwards.

Any plastic packaging item which is less than 50 microns in thickness falls under this banned category of plastic items. Most of the polythene bags which are circulated by retailers fall under this banned category.

Given the limited recyclability and significant negative impacts on ecosystems and human health, SUP issues must be addressed together. It requires collaborative effort of the consumers, and not only the manufacturers and legislation authorities.

Initially, the anti-plastic drive was limited to big commercial establishments which included shops and retail outlets inside shopping malls and plazas. This led them to adapt to replacing jute or paper bags over SUP. However, small-size shops and hawkers continue to use plastics not adhering to the norms.

As per a mandate, the penalty for use of banned plastic is Rs 5,000. If the offence is committed, then the fine will double. And, with further repeat of misconduct, the price will shoot to Rs 25,000 with three-month imprisonment. BMC has an eye on people still involved in the production, use, sale, transportation, handling and storage of banned plastic.

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