Pune: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is turning a blind eye towards the use of single use plastic (polythene carry bags). The use of these bags has been banned by the State government from June 23 (following the implementation of plastic ban in the State).
It was revealed, through spot visits at various places, that 90 per cent of the local vendors and citizens are still using plastic carry bags (below 50 microns, which are banned) openly. They are not scared of the strict fines.
About plastic ban, it was clearly mentioned in the Government Resolution (GR) of March 23 and in the latest GR of July 2 that plastic carry bags have been prohibited for any purpose after June 23, failing which fines ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000 will be levied. However, the PMC is not taking any action against violators.
Besides plastic carry bags, non-woven polypropylene bags and garbage liners are also being openly sold. Suresh Jagtap, head of the Solid Waste Management of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), told Sakal Times that the government has told them indirectly to not confiscate plastic from any person using single use plastic, as there is no proper awareness among citizens yet.
Jagtap said, “Manufacturing of single use plastic has been prohibited and stopped in the State. The bags currently used by citizens and vendors are either coming from outside the State or being sold illegally. I have directed all the sanitary and deputy sanitary inspectors of each ward to spread awareness about it.”
“Once the plastic packaging material of over 50 micron thickness with a minimum weight of two grams and printed with manufacturers’ details, type of plastic with code number and buyback price hits the market, then firm action will be taken,” he said.
Dinesh Yadav, the owner of a grocery store in Shivajinagar, said, “After June 23, we were scared that the civic body would confiscate plastic carry bags and levy a fine. However, we are selling them because civic officials have not come to confiscate it or warn us about using it. People are also demanding it.”
Nikhil Shetty, a salesperson at Om Super Market, Model Colony, said, “Plastic bags are being supplied very easily even after the ban. We normally tell our customers to bring cloth bags but if they do not have them, we give them plastic bags.”
Nikhil Rathi, Secretary of Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers Association, said, “The ban will not be easily followed by people. This is similar to the gutkha ban. Gutkha is easily sold and consumed in the State even after being banned. The government is not taking actions against its sale, storage, consumption or manufacture.”