Mumbai: Plastic bags: No ban, only penalty

MUMBAI: Contrary to what its political leadership has been widely propagating, the BMC has merely recommended to the state environment department a penalty on citizens found using plastic carrybags below 50 microns.

The BMC’s proposal, which is being scrutinised by its legal cell before being forwarded to the Maharashtra government, suggests a fine of Rs 5 to Rs 10 on anyone found carrying material in bags that of less than 50 microns thickness. For this purpose, the civic body has asked the state to make necessary changes to the Maharashtra Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Ordinance, 2006.

Instead of a complete ban on plastic bags, the municipal administration has asked the state to make existing rules more stringent to discourage manufacturing, use and circulation of banned plastic.

“The present laws have provision for penalising retailers, shopkeepers, stockist and street vendors, but they do not talk about penalising the end users or consumers. We propose that suitable changes be made in the existing laws to make consumers responsible for aiding and abetting circulation of banned plastic bags,” the proposal reads.

Once that happens, the BMC is hoping instead of paying up the fine, most consumers would start buying paper or cloth bags. “And this may well turn out to be one of the remedies to the plastic menace,” it adds.

Worldwide, a fine on the use of plastic carry bags is usually seen as an effective detterent against the menace of plastic bags. On January 1, Washington DC announced a 5% levy on its residents on the use of each plastic bag. Another country to have adopted similar measures is Ireland, which in 2002 passed a tax on plastic bags, charging 33 cents per bag from the customers.

Mumbai’s first citizen Shraddha Jadhav last week announced an “unplanned call” for a total ban on plastic bags, only to make a U-turn later. But the administration recommendations are a move towards making the existing norms more tighter and stringent. The civic proposal also suggests a hike in penalty for manufacturers.

“As an amendment to section 9 of the ordinance, it is proposed that instead of imposing penalty of imprisonment as a third-time offence, it should be imposed on errant manufacturers caught for the first time.” an official said. Currently, first-time offenders are fined Rs 5,000 and second-time offenders Rs 10,000. Third-time offenders are fined Rs 25,000 and can be sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.

The BMC has also said that MPCB must enforce the laws more strictly. “The MPCB must revoke NoCs of those industries found to be producing banned plastic.”

From TOI


One Response to Mumbai: Plastic bags: No ban, only penalty

  1. satpathi says:

    Bangalore , Chennai have used waste plastic + Bitumen in roads . No potholes and life 6 yrs . Urban & Rural roads . Process is simple (careful sorting and size control). Contact KKPLASTIC WASTE MGMT Bangalore / Thiagrajar Coll Engineering Madurai Dr vasudevan. Any palstic (NOT PVC) incl laminated wrapper (buiscuit packs) will do. Will take care of all waste plastics in India.
    Pakistan , Bangaladesh have shown interest. Banning plastic bags will not do. Local politics may delay it. SM Krishna CM Karnataka 2001 gave approval for use in Bangalore after test run.
    All major roads in Bangalore have this tech since 2002 no potholes there. MEDIA should pick it up from here. PRADHAN MANTRI GRAMEEN SADAK YOJANA & CRRI Delhi and MIN RURAL DEV have got it implemented. Surf the NET and get better view
    Plastic thin bags is not the problem. Our nonexistent garbage collection is to blame coupled with our inherent gene that says let others do the dirty work.
    Where is the problem ? MUNICIPAL BODIES control road contract. Would they want a long lasting road at slightly higher cost with no repeat work on same road for next 10 yrs?
    Our attitude binds us. Those who read this pl get media to follow up on what has been done in Bangalore / TN rural /IIT Kharagpur/ WB Kalyani …in plastic green roads.

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