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Are Pune’s local bodies ready for state’s plastic ban?

After the announcement, Hindustan Times checked for the preparedness of the Pune Zilla Parishad, Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporations and the three cantonments.

pune Updated: Mar 16, 2018 23:31 IST
Abhay Khairnnar
Abhay Khairnnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,maharashtra,plastic ban
Ground reality has been quite different with hawkers, shopkeepers and residents openly using plastic, said activists. (HT File Photo)

With the Maharashtra government announcing a ban on plastic across the state, with effect from March 18, the question that arises is whether the local body is prepared to implement the ban?

Officials from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and other local bodies said that they got to know about the ban only through the media and that there was no official notification or Government Resolution (GR) for it. The officials said since the environment minister announced the plastic ban, the GR will come in the next few days. Only after the GR is in place will they know their next step.

After the announcement, Hindustan Times checked for the preparedness of the Pune Zilla Parishad, Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporations and the three cantonments. Officials from these bodies confirmed that they were all waiting for the GR, but also said it was a good move to sort out the issue of plastic in the state.

Although the officers refused to speak on record about the preparedness, they are happy that at least the state has taken some efforts towards eliminating the use of plastic. They are hoping for the ban to yield good results.

According to the solid waste management department head Suresh Jagtap,the total proportion of plastic garbage generated in the city is 10 to 12 % which is nearly 150 to 180 metric tonnes daily. “Such a huge quantity of plastic in the garbage is a big problem for the PMC, as it is not biodegradable,” Jagtap said.

While the state government and the PMC had imposed a ban on plastic bags up to 50 microns in size back in 2006, it did not seem to help unclog the drains — the reason why they were banned in the first place.

Meanwhile, ground reality has been quite different with hawkers, shopkeepers and residents openly using plastic, said activists. Officials from the municipal administration accepted that plastic bags are easily available and despite taking action on shopkeepers and residents, the civic body has not been able to succeed in eliminating the use of plastic in the city.

As per the data provided by PMC, the civic body has taken action against almost 5,000 traders during 2017, and collected a fine of more than Rs.24 lakh. In total, 4,691 actions against use and sale of plastic bags were taken by PMC, while 311 actions were taken separately by the PMC’s nuisance cell.

The PMC had formed a special team in 2011 to take action against carry bag sellers and users. Though it is attempting to bring down the use of plastic to an extent, it has not been able to do much as the carry bags come to Pune from other cities. Action needs to be taken against the source of these carry bags.

Jagtap said, “The plastic bag ban has helped hill stations, like Mahabalshwar and Matheran, were the results are getting better. The ban is expected to yield results even in the state and Pune city this time.”

An officer from the zilla parishad, on condition of anonymity, said that they did not have enough staff to take action against the vendors and shop owners who are using carry bags. But, the ZP will try to bring about more awareness.

PCMC officers also said that they are waiting for the notification and will start executing the ban as per the government’s guidelines.

First Published: Mar 16, 2018 23:31 IST