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Home / Pune News / Plastic ban: A year later, Pune Municipal Corporation admits failure

Plastic ban: A year later, Pune Municipal Corporation admits failure

Official states only 20% of plastic waste has reduced since ban’s implementation on June 23, 2018

pune Updated: Jun 22, 2019 15:02 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
A worker of Adar Poonawala collecting garbage, mostly plastic waste, at Vimannagar.
A worker of Adar Poonawala collecting garbage, mostly plastic waste, at Vimannagar.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)

The implementation of the statewide plastic ban commenced on June 23, 2018. A year later, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has admitted that the ban has not made much of an impact in the city as the its usage is down by only 20 per cent.

Maharashtra government introduced the plastic ban on March 18, 2018, the implementation of which began on June 23 with much planning and determination to fight the plastic pollution. However, it has failed to make any major change in the city.

Dnyaneshwar Molak, chief, PMC solid waste department, said, “While we are taking regular actions on those who violate the regulations of plastic ban, it is true that only 20 per cent of the plastic waste is declined in the city.”

The plastic carry bags which were widely available across the city are replaced by cloth and paper bags at some locations, but other plastic items continue to be used in the city at larger scale as carry bags have resurfaced in the markets.

Molak said, “It is true that plastic carry bags are surfacing again in the markets, however, a number of banned items such as plastic bags of less than 10 microns, cutlery and disposable cups and plates are back in shops and used widely. It is for this reason that the plastic waste in the city has reduced by only 20 per cent after the government’s notification last year.”

When the ban was introduced by the government, it had given a three-month window to consumers and retailers to get rid of the existing stock. However, according to PMC officials, while many of the vendors had disposed it, few of them had it stocked which is being used now.

The ban was a second attempt by the government, after the first one in 2006, which was implemented soon after the Mumbai floods. During the floods, sewage pipes and canals were choked with plastic garbage.

The civic body had enforced the ban strictly by creating squads and conducting raids on marketplaces and shops. At least 170 inspectors are deployed in all the 15 wards.

Sloppy enforcement led civic body lose grip on ban, says Swach

While the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) admits that the statewide plastic ban has failed to make any impact in the city, non-governmental organisation Swach cites lack of effective enforcement as the main reason.

Swach (solid waste collection and handling) is an NGO responsible for the door to door waste collection in the entire city. It is India’s first wholly-owned cooperative of self-employed waste pickers or waste collectors.

Mangal Pagare, CEO of Swach, said, “In June last year when the ban was implemented, PMC was very aggressive in enforcing the new regulation. The results were evident as the generation of plastic waste in the city had fallen considerably. However, with the passage of time, PMC’s drive slowed down and so was the impact of the ban.”

According to Pagare, six months after the ban was implemented, the plastic waste had begun to resurface in the city.

She said, “Till the first six months the fear of any action was evident among all the street side vendors who were the maximum users of plastic bags.

However, a year later, these vendors have begun using these plastic bags which are not allowed as per the ban.”

Citing the reason for lax action by civic officials, Pagare said, “While the administration had slowed down on their actions, one of the reasons for doing so was political interference during the drives undertaken by the PMC. These activities were significantly evident in the beginning, though it has reduced, but not completely stopped.”

On June 27, HT had reported that a PMC plastic ban enforcement squad faced opposition from Congress leader Arvind Shinde. Shinde prevented the squad from imposing fine on a shopkeeper who had large quantities of plastic carry bags on his premises near the Pune railway station.

A Swach waste picker from Kothrud, requesting anonymity, said, “In the last four months, plastic carry bags have increased in household waste that we collect daily. Besides, wrappers, thick plastic bags and other materials are also used by citizens to dispose their garbage.”

Pune generates nearly 1,600 tonnes of garbage every day, of which 250 tonnes is wet garbage, 850 tonnes is dry, while 500 tonnes is mixed.

Choking on plastic waste

The non-green waste

Plastic generation in 2017-18 (before notification): 66, 582, 418 kg

Plastic generation after notification: 60,590,000 kg

Total plastic waste disposal: 21,206,500 kg

Mode of disposal: Gasification, refuse-derived fuel (RDF), plastic to fuel, landfilling

Plastic that is recycled by waste pickers: 36,354, 000 kg

Plastic recycled by PMC: 3,029, 000 kg

Plastic used in gasification, refuse-derived fuel (RDF), plastic to fuel, landfilling: 21,206,000 kg

Pune generates nearly 1,600 tonnes of garbage every day, of which 250 tonnes is wet garbage, 850 tonnes is dry, while 500 tonnes is mixed.

“While we are taking regular actions on those who violate the regulations of the plastic ban, it is true that only 20 per cent of plastic waste has reduced in the city.”

Dnyaneshwar Molak, chief, PMC solid waste department

 

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