Mumbai: Shopkeepers in Dadar, Worli markets say no to plastic bags

Even as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation mulls raising the permissible thickness of plastic bags in the market from 50 to 70 microns, several major markets in the city are adding momentum to the no-plastic drive by replacing plastic bags with environmentally friendly options.

Three weeks after 27 restaurateurs of Bandra-Khar vowed to kick plastic bags, hawkers and shopkeepers on the busy Dadar and Worli markets have now joined the drive. Nearly 300 vegetable and fruit sellers on Dadar’s Ranade Road, D’Silva Road and NC Kelkar Road have stopped providing plastic bags to customers, replacing them with paper bags.

“On an average, we see 700-800 customers a day who would take at least three plastic thailis from us. As a result we’d be responsible for introducing about 21,000 plastic bags each day to the environment. Now, we insist that the customers bring their own cloth bag or pack their goods in newspapers,” said Devi Prasad, a fruit seller. Prasad added that earlier he would spend Rs 40-50 a day on plastic bags but now he buys one kilo of paper bags for Rs 50 which lasts him a few days.

Last week, nearly 30 vendors met Sunil Shah, secretary of Dadar Merchants’ Association and BMC’s Subash Dalvi, masterminds behind the city’s first no-plastic movement in the Vile Parle municipal market last year, and drew up a plan to promote a plastic-free market. Laminated notices with pictures of Mayor Shraddha Jadhav asking to ban plastic bags completely to maintain clean city, were distributed to vendors to be displayed at their stalls.

Shah said, “Our aim is to do away with all plastic bags in the markets. Vendors are a strong body, if they refuse to hand over plastics thailis, customers will be forced to get cloth bags. Besides, we are also trying to produce a bulk of cloth bags which the hawkers can give to customers for a nominal deposit.”

Hawkers’ group in Worli also joined the bandwagon last month. About 138 vegetable hawkers from the western side, and 132 from the eastern side for Worli naka vegetable market have stopped storing and providing plastic bags to the customers, Subash Jaiswal, president of Worli Naka Hawkers’ Union said. “Besides being an eco-friendly move, the hawkers save at least Rs 30 a day by not buying thailis. So it is profitable too,” he said.

In an effort to strengthen the drive, Dalvi is planning to take the no-plastic movement to Malad and Goregaon this week. “If people voluntarily stop using plastic bags, the ban will become much more effective,” Dalvi said.

From Indian Express

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