BENGALURU: The city seems to be slowly losing ground in its battle against plastic, raging since 2015 when plastic below 40 microns thickness was finally banned. In recent months, the environmental hazard has made a slow but sure return into the hands of vendors and residents.
According to the BBMP, in recent weeks, there has been a return of plastic bags in the city. According to Manoranjan Hegde, Chief Health Officer with BBMP, the civic body estimates an increase of 10 per cent in plastic usage among small establishments and street vendors in the past few weeks.
“Large establishments and shopping malls have changed their ways and have started using other alternatives. There needs to be more awareness among street vendors to make them understand the harm that plastic causes,” he said.
Fine on the usage of plastic bags ranges between Rs 5,000 and Rs 1 lakh depending on the type of plastic being used. Hegde said that the increase was observed in the commercial sector, including vendors than in domestic users like households.
“Jute, cloth and paper bags are a better alternative,” he added.
On the other hand, street vendors explained their difficulty in using cloth bags. “Plastic is cheaper and easily available. We can buy more pieces for a lesser amount and cloth bags being expensive, not all customers agree to pay extra,” said Mala Kumari, a street vendor.
Another vendor Subhash Raj stated that plastic bags are convenient and are affordable to their customers as well as to them.
“We do not operate on huge profit margins. Cloth bags as an alternative cannot be supplied by us untill customers agree to foot the bill,” he said.
According to experts, the push needed to come from the end users of these plastic bags. “Also the government rules should be strict and any use of plastic should be prohibited,” said V Ravichandar, urban expert.
He also added by saying that usage of paper straws instead of plastic ones even in small shops would create a positive effect.