MUMBAI: The BMC has drawn up a new strategy for its anti-plastic drive in the city. As part of the strategy, staffers from one ward will be sent to another ward to seize plastic bags and take action against hawkers and vendors who provide these.
This is to ensure that hawkers do not become alert, as regular staffers of a ward are known to them and they flee or hide plastic bags upon sighting them.
TimesViewPast campaigns against the use of plastic faltered after the initial enthusiasm. Plastic bags choke drains and nullahs and cause devastation to marine life. The BMC must sustain its anti-plastic campaign and create awareness among the public about the damage it causes to the environment.“BMC staffers at the ward level carry out action at two levels. One is to remove or evict unauthorised hawkers and other is to seize plastic material and act against the vendors providing plastic bags. However, most hawkers in an area recognise the local BMC ward staffers and they scamper away and hide the plastic bags when they see the BMC staffers. So, it becomes difficult to seize the plastic bags and take action against them. Therefore, we thought a better way would be to send staffers of a ward to another ward. This would prevent them from being recognised,” said a BMC official.
Since July, the BMC has seized over 4,000kg of plastic across the city. It will re-intensify the campaign now as plastic bags clog drains during the monsoon and give rise to the threat of flooding.
“So far from July 2022 to April 2023, the BMC has seized 4,412kg of plastic material from vendors, shops and establishments and imposed a fine of Rs 56 lakh,” the municipal official said.
If plastic bags are found, a penalty of Rs 5,000 is mandated to be imposed for the first offence, Rs 10,000 for the second offence, and Rs 25,000 and imprisonment of three months for the third offence.
“Periodically, the BMC keeps carrying out actions like this. But they need to implement serious measures like imposing duties on plastic bags to include environmental cost to the bags and make it unaffordable for the vendor. Proper waste segregation would also ensure that plastic does not go to the Deonar dumping ground. Better waste management and collection of dry waste in a secure manner is needed,” said Rishi Agarwal, founder of Mumbai Sustainability Centre.
The production, use, sale, transportation, handling and storage of plastic has been banned in in the state since March 2018.