Pune civic body enforces plastic ban, collects Rs 3.69 lakh on the very first day
The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) drive to enforce the plastic ban began on a determined note on Saturday with the collection of ₹3.69 lakh in fines from 73 offenders on the very first day. Small traders staged protests and reacted angrily to the ban, even as traders on Sinhagad road downed their shutters in protest.
The statewide ban on the use of plastic products began on Saturday with civic staff assisted by police personnel doing the rounds of shopping areas to enforce the ban. It was on March 23 that the Maharashtra government had issued a notification imposing a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of all plastic materials, including one-time use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items.
“The PMC has seized 8,711 kg plastic and 75kg thermocol from various traders,” said Suresh Jagtap, PMC’s solid waste management department head, said. He said the PMC had chalked out a detailed plan to execute the plastic ban resolution and had deployed a staff of 150 persons to enforce the ban.
“The teams were formed keeping in mind all wards to keep a watch on violations. All 15 ward offices of the PMC conducted the drive on Saturday,” he said.
Fines amounting to ₹75,000 were collected from Shivajinagar/Ghole road areas, ₹55,000 from Aundh/Baner, ₹45,000 from Ahmednagar road and ₹30,000 from the city areas.
As per the new law, the fine for use of plastic is ₹5,000 for first offence and ₹10,000 for second offence. In case of a third offence, the PMC will file a police case against the concerned person, he said.
Following the state government’s decision, the PMC undertook an awareness drive among the citizens to dissuade them from using plastic. The civic body also published a list mentioning items that were allowed and those that were banned.
Jagtap said that the PMC will continue its drive over the next few days aggressively.
The PMC has appealed to citizens to deposit plastic bags and other banned items in their possession at PMC’s ward office or collection centres.
Traders protest on Sinhagad road
Following PMC’s drive against traders, the retailers association on Singhgad road opposed the drive vociferously and downed their shutters. Sachin Nivagune, Pune district retail traders association president, said that the state government had announced that they would allow plastic as packing material. However, during its drive, PMC officials did not abide by this and instead fined traders who had plastic packing material in their shops. Traders said while they welcomed the plastic ban, they were opposed to heavy fines of ₹5,000 to ₹10,000 which were draconian.
“We follow all the rules, and have even stopped giving out plastic bags to customers. The problem is that we haven’t been given any alternative to packaging of perishable goods. PMC has taken action against plastic wrapping of peanut brittle (guddani) which will get spoilt if it is not packed,” one of the protesting traders said.