A mixed response from traders and consumers greeted the Delhi government’s ban on plastic.
At Karol Bagh, small-time traders were seen flouting the ban with ease. When questioned, Amit Kumar, who was manning a stall selling woollens, said, “Yes, I’ve heard about it. This is the last lot of plastic bags I have. After that, customers will have to get their own bags.”
With no visible efforts to enforce the ban, plastic goods had a near normal day in the markets. Bigger shops, however, have moved beyond plastic. Vishal Mega Mart had a huge poster on its left doorway: “Use of plastic bags has been banned. Please use your own bags or buy non-woven bags available for sale at R4 per bag.”
Most others were also charging anything between Rs. 4 to Rs. 10 for these non-woven bags depending on the size and quality, or had switched to paper bags. “We have been using paper bags for over two months now,” Rajkumar Mahto, a Bata employee at a Karol Bagh outlet, said.
The consumers too are torn. Though environmental hazards are a definite concern for most, many pointed out the effectiveness of plastic bags. Lovely Singh, a 28-year-old businessman from Bhogal, said the government needed to find a viable alternative before banning plastic bags. “You can’t buy anything from the market unless you have a bag. A cost-effective alternative is needed,” he said.