KOCHI: Kochi Corporation has yet again failed to enforce its ban on plastic carry bags in the city shopping malls and supermarkets. Previous blanket bans were from April first week, later from Independence Day, apparently, there was one more in between which no one seems to remember. The bans remained where they were, on paper.
This time, the civic body decided to enforce the blanket ban on plastic carry bags from September 1. The plan, decided in the last month’s corporation council meeting, was to implement the ban on plastic carry bags ahead of Onam. The health superintending officer duly informed the council that notices had been served on the shopping malls and supermarkets.
However, when Express did a reality check at some of the shopping malls and supermarkets in the city, it found that many of them were not even aware of the civic body’s ban. “We came to know about the ban through the news reports. But we haven’t received any direction from the corporation to ban the plastic carry bags. To implement such an order, we need to provide an alternative solution. If the civic body is not interested to implement it, why should we bother?” said a supermarket supervisor.
The use of carrying bags is still rampant and not a single case has been registered so far against the malls and supermarkets. The corporation’s effort to reduce the plastic waste generation in the city is facing uncertain future. “The announcements are mere public stunts as no proper move has taken place. No concrete steps have been taken to hold a meeting with the supermarket officials, hotel and restaurant associations and the textile shop owners. A proper plan is needed before going ahead with such a plan,” said C K Peter, opposition councillor.
However, Mayor Soumini Jain passed the buck to the health committee for not implementing the order. “A proper direction has already been given to the health officers. But there were no proper follow-up by the officers concerned. It is learnt that some of them are engaged in rebuilding Kerala programme. Anyhow, we will go as per the plan. A meeting with the stakeholders will be convened to implement the order,” said the Mayor.