All ready for the plastic ban, says Mumbai civic body. Really?

While the state government is yet to issue a notification with the details, the civic body says it has a plan of action to implement the ban in Mumbai

mumbai Updated: Mar 17, 2018 14:19 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S
Hindustan Times
This also means that it may take a few weeks for BMC to start fining shop keepers for plastic usage.(Representational photo)

Even as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) gears up to implement the ban on use of plastic imposed by the Maharashtra government on Thursday, it may still take some time before its impact is felt by Mumbaiites.

While BMC already has a plan of action for the implementation of the ban, civic officials are awaiting the notification from the state government before they can chalk out the next steps.

The civic body wants to prioritise awareness creation among citizens regarding plastic usage, and introduce inspections in shops and markets to check compliance to the ban.

Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “BMC is awaiting the notification from the state government. Then concrete steps can be decided.”

Nidhi Choudhary, Deputy Municipal Commissioner of the shops and establishments department, is responsible for the implementation of the ban.

“BMC is awaiting government notification, but we have some things in mind to curb plastic use. The nature of such things is that it needs public awareness. People should be aware about reducing plastic use. Such an approach will give better results than a top to bottom approach,” said Choudhary.

BMC plans to tie up with non-governmental organizations, citizens groups, schools and colleges, and NSS or NCC members to conduct these awareness drives.

In addition, civic officials from the shops and establishments department will begin implementing the ban at the ward level.

“BMC will decentralise the process of implementation as much as possible, and focus on awareness. However, we are awaiting guidelines from the government notification before details of implementation can be planned,” Choudhary said.

There is a team of officials in place at the ward level. In November last year, BMC started an awareness drive to curb the use of plastic in the city’s municipal markets in Dadar, Vile Parle, Mulund, Malad, and Kanjurmarg.

Teams of two or three officials were in charge of visiting markets and persuading vendors not to use plastic bags.

Now, instead of appointing special teams tasked with inspection and fining, the same officials will be responsible for implementation in the beginning.

Choudhary said, “Recently, according to another state government decision, establishments employing less than 9 people need not be registered at all. This has taken some work load from shops and establishments officials. That time can be utilised for these inspections.”

This also means that it may take a few weeks for BMC to start fining shop keepers for plastic usage.

However, environmentalists are skeptical about the success of the ban. Anand Pendharkar, city based environmentalist, said, “This is a haphazard and hasty decision. There is a manufacturing industry linked to this, so they will go underground and corruption will grow. Besides, all kinds of plastic is not banned. What about plastic packets of washing soap, snacks, gutka?”

First Published: Mar 17, 2018 13:02 IST