43% shopkeepers unaware about plastic ban in Maharashtra, reveals survey
As the Maharashtra government plans to introduce a state-wide ban on the use of plastic carry bags from Sunday, a city-based survey across 525 shops including malls, mid-range shops and street vendors, found that 43% of all shopkeepers did not know about the ban.
Of those shops that were aware of the ban, 51% of the shops have not planned for any alternative for plastic carry bags, and 93% said they did not receive any help from the state government so far in implementing alternatives to plastic bags.
To check our preparedness as a city to enforce this ban, around 50 students from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai in partnership with the environment group GreenLine conducted the survey with teams travelling from Colaba causeway in south Mumbai to Dadar, Parel, Bandra and all the way up to Mulund, Ghatkopar and Dahisar.
“The successful implementation of the ban needs adequate preparation. We were interested in finding out how prepared shopkeepers and vendors in the city were to implement the ban. The findings of the survey suggest that the level of preparedness in the city is very low,” said Father Savio Silveira, director, NGO GreenLine.
In November 2017, state environment minister Ramdas Kadam had announced a total ban on plastic carry bags throughout the state from March 18 onwards. 66% of the shopkeepers said the ban will not succeed.
“85% of shopkeepers said that they are aware of pollution caused by plastic bags,” read the survey report.
“They however, continued to supply plastic bags because customers don’t carry their own bags and refuse to buy products if plastic bags are not provided resulting in loss of business.”
Officials from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board said there was need for more awareness in Mumbai as compared to other parts of the state.
“The ban will most likely be implemented from next week onwards as the chief minister is yet to sign off the official document. However, our teams are on the job since October itself sensitising shopkeepers. Taking cognisance of the survey, we will increase our efforts in Mumbai,” said P Anbalagan, member secretary, MPCB.