BENGALURU: Nine months after the ban on polythene bags in the state, they are back in the market. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, struggling to prevent the usage of these bags, now plans to seek help from other government agencies to keep an eye on such bags coming from outside Bengaluru.
In BBMP limits, 4,000 tonnes of waste are generated every day, of which 1,300 tonnes are dry waste, including plastic and metal. BBMP has 188 dry waste collection centres.
In March 11, 2016, the state government had banned plastic carry bags, glasses and plates among other products. In the first few months, BBMP authorities shut many plastic manufacturing units.
N S Ramakanth, BBMP Solid Waste Management Expert Committee member, blames it on the authorities for slack enforcement of the ban. “Unlike smaller cities like Hassan and Mysuru, Bengaluru is lagging behind. They are seizing polythene bags from small units and vendors, but this is too less compared to the availability in the market,” he said.
A manufacturer of a polythene bag unit in Peenya Industrial Area which was shut by the BBMP, said that the ban has rendered workers unemployed. “The plastic bags are coming from outside the state, especially Gujarat, which has the largest number of plastic manufacturing units in India. The government is keen on shutting down our units but is not checking the lorries at the check-posts,” he said.
Shivaraj, a garment shop owner in Alankar Plaza on KG Road, said, “I sell frocks as cheap as `200. The same frocks cost `500 in showrooms. With a less profit margin, I cannot invest money on cloth or paper bags, which cost a lot more than polythene bags. Each plastic bag comes at just 50 paise.”
Meenakshi Mohan, a resident of Kathriguppe, said that from flower vendors to grocery shops, all are giving cheap quality polythene bags. “But in places like Reliance and Big Bazaar, they are giving cloth bags at a cost as high as `35,” she said.
BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad told Express that there was indeed some slack in implementing the law when it came to banning plastic. He said that the ban was effective in the initial days and added that in some wards the ban was being strictly implemented. “I am going to instruct the health officers to give weekly updates,” he said.
He added that in spite of shutting plastic manufacturing units, polythene bags are readily available in the city as they come from other places. “We are in talks with the Commercial Tax and Regional Transport offices to monitor the transportation of plastic bags at check-posts. If we stop polythene bags coming from outside, it will help us prevent their usage to a large extent,” he said.