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11 Mumbai shops flout plastic ban, refuse to pay fine

On the first day of the Maharashtra-wide plastic ban on Saturday, 11 shops at a Parel mall became perhaps the first violators in Mumbai. Some of them belonged to leading multinational food and beverage companies.

mumbai Updated: Jun 24, 2018 13:54 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
plastic ban,violators,multinational
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will serve prosecution notices to the 11 shops after they refused to pay fine.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

On the first day of the statewide plastic ban on Saturday, 11 shops at a Parel mall became perhaps the first violators in Mumbai. Some of them belonged to leading multinational food and beverage companies. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will serve prosecution notices to the 11 shops after they refused to pay fine.

While neighbouring civic bodies have begun collecting fine from citizens, BMC’s 250 inspectors visited major markets and public spaces to explain the nuances of the ban. The BMC on Friday  said it will actively start levying fines from Monday.

Under an awareness drive which will continue till Sunday, the 250 inspectors, divided into 23 teams, visited retailers, shopkeepers, hoteliers and citizens. Many citizens approached the inspectors enquiring about the banned items, while others congratulated them for the ban.

In addition to raising awareness, the BMC confiscated many bags that were being passed off as a plastic alternative on the streets.

SAY NO TO THESE ITEMS
All kinds of plastic bags
Non-woven polypropylene bags
All one-time use disposable items made up of plastic and thermocol, such as cutlery, plates and bowls
Plastic containers used in the hotel industry to store food
Plastic and thermocol items used for decoration (however, the state govt will discuss if thermocol decorations can be used during Ganeshotsav)
Plastic sheets to wrap or store products, plastic pouches to store liquid
Zip-locked bags
WHAT ABOUT GARBAGE BAGS?
The state has banned non-biodegradable garbage liners, while the BMC has unofficially stated that people can use them
YOU CAN CONTINUE TO USE THESE
Plastic used for packaging of medicines
Compostable plastic material used for nurseries, horticulture and agriculture
Plastic cover/plastic material used at the manufacturing stage (eg, branded packaging for potato chip and FMCG products)
All kinds of milk bags and PET bottles
Gloves and caps used by restaurant staff
Tupperware and tiffin boxes

Despite the ban, plastic bags could be seen in various markets across the city. “Initially, we are allowing rain cover plastic used by shopkeepers. But it is also a banned item. In the first few weeks, we are targeting plastic bags,” said another inspector from the plastic ban squad.

Though citizens have lauded the plastic ban, they are worried about paucity of alternatives, especially when it rains. “The ban is a noble initiative, but we need alternatives. It is raining today; no cloth or jute bag can withstand it,” said Mukesh Shah, a shopper at Crawford market.

Retailers have also seconded citizens over lack of alternatives. Fearing the fine, close to 40 shops in Malad (West) were shut, said Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association.

Don’t pay fine: MNS

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has opposed fines slapped on people found using plastic. It has appealed to citizens to not pay fine.

“We have no problem with plastic bag ban. However, levying such fines is wrong,” said MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande.

“The BMC should educate the people, spread awareness about the ills of plastic. Just levying fines will result in harassment of people,” he added.

First Published: Jun 24, 2018 13:54 IST