BENGALURU: The plastic tricolours being sold at traffic signals, and stuck into crevices in office cubicles and autorickshaws were once synonymous with Independence Day celebrations, but a lot has changed since the state-wide plastic ban.
On March 11, the state called for a complete ban on plastic and thermocol products. City Express takes a look at how far the ban has been implemented, with Independence Day merchandise, four months into the ruling.
A walk through the market lanes and one realises how the traditional plastic flags have now been replaced by its eco-friendly counterparts – paper and cloth.
Shopkeepers who are aware of the ban have cleverly made the switch to greener options to avoid trouble. “We are not selling plastic flags because of the ban. If we sell, then we will face consequences” said Suresh, a stationery shop owner from Koramangala.
The buyers are also eager on buying non-plastic flags, which are of better quality. “I used to purchase plastic flags for my auto, but this year on, I decided to use non-plastic ones. They are reasonably priced as well” said Raj Kumar, an auto driver from BTM Layout.
Kindergarten teacher from SG Palya, Latha Kumari, says the ban is a good move and citizens should support it in every way.
City Express visited KR Market — the biggest wholesale market in Bengaluru. Almost every other shop was either decorated with or was selling non-plastic flags. Most of the shops on Avenue Road also displayed non-plastic flags.
“Since the rules are strict, we are not selling plastic flags. If we sell them, BBMP authorities will raid our shop and levy heavy fines,” said Zameer, a shopkeeper.
However, the non-plastic fete seemed to stop with the tricolour. Several other decorative items for the Independence Day celebrations were being sold in plastic but were not as widely on display. On asking about plastic decorative articles that were on display, the shopkeepers claimed they were from an ‘old stock’ and was for their regular customers.
“We should not encourage the use of these small plastic flags. Since people just throw them out later, it just serves as an insult to our National Flag. The eco-friendly flag is a better alternative because when they are discarded, they’ll turn into soil,” said Dr Shanthi Tummala, environmental activist.
Vijaykumar, President, Karnataka State Plastic Association, said that many small vendors who have old stock were not given enough time to clear the same. “I don’t think that by not using plastic flags, we can reduce the amount of garbage since we are only using it for one day. To make paper flags, we need to cut more trees and it will harm the environment even more,” he said.