The drive against banned plastic, which came to a halt in the city during the Covid pandemic, will be re-initiated from July 1. The BMC has alerted the public through a notice issued on June 1 that stringent action will be taken against those using banned plastic, including single-use disposable plastic. This time, the civic body is working on the strategy to make the action effective and accordingly, a squad will be formed at the ward-level, to visit shops, markets, etc, to check on plastic usage.
The state government had banned single-use plastic bags and the use of plastic carry bags in June 2018. Civic squads had visited shops and penalised violators and, in the process, the municipal corporation had earned Rs 4.64 crore in fines and seized 86,000 kg of plastic in this period. But the drive was badly hit during the Covid-induced lockdown in 2020. During this time, plastic carry bags snuck back into the market. So, once again, the BMC is getting back in action again and will start its drive next month.
The production, transportation, sale, storage, handling and use of prohibited plastic, as prescribed by the Maharashtra government, is prohibited under the Maharashtra Degradable and Non-Degradable Waste (Control) Act, 2006. Under section 9 of this this Act, violators must pay Rs 5,000 for the first offence, Rs 10,000 for the second and a fine of up to Rs 25,000 and/or imprisonment for three months for an offence after that,” said a BMC official. Before embarking on its inspection drive, a fresh appeal to the public was made by the BMC on June 1, requesting them to stop the use of banned plastic items.
The last time around, the BMC was blamed for lack of management and vigilance in its drive. This time, the civic body will focus on planning to make the drive effective and rid the city of plastic. A squad of around 300 officials will be visiting the shops in their respective wards and checking the use of plastic, said the sources. Deputy Municipal Commissioner Sanjog Kabre said, “By this weekend, we will be ready with our strategy. We plan to start the drive on July 1 and ward-level machinery will be used in the action.”
Restricted or banned plastics include:
* Plastic bags (with and without handles)
* Disposables or one-use items like plates, cups, glasses, spoons, etc made of plastic and tossed after one use
* Plastic items used for food packaging in hotels
* Cups/ pouches used to store liquids
* Plastic wrap used for storage and packaging of all types of food, grains etc.