Pune: The State government’s decision to ban plastic carry bags and thermocol products from Gudhi Padwa has not been formally received by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) till date. However, while the PMC waits for the government circular, it has started preparing for implementation of the order in the city.
At present, the PMC is taking action against carry bags with a thickness of less than 50 microns, but it has not succeeded in stopping their use. The action has become nothing but collection of fines and increasing revenue for the corporation.
The PMC General Body had passed a proposal to ban plastic bags in 2010. They sent the proposal to the State government for approval, but the State government did not take a decision. After this, the corporation started taking action against vendors using carry bags with a thickness of less than 50 microns as per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2011. But this action was not on a large scale until the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 came into force. Till date, the corporation has collected a fine of Rs 17 lakh and seized more than 2,000 kg of plastic bags.
The city generates 1,600 tonnes of garbage daily. Of this, the share of plastic is around 12 per cent. It increases during the festive seasons and reaches 15 per cent. Plastic waste contains milk bags, oil bags, food bags, yogurt containers, plastic glasses, cooking oil canisters, laminate tubes (toothpaste, medicines), carry bags (all micron thickness), blister packing, bubble wrap, shampoo/powder bottles, empty sachets, detergent bags, food item bags, wrappers, cassettes, CD covers, plastic flowers and buckets.
Plastic carry bags and thermocol products are 2.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent component of garbage respectively. The quantity is growing day by day, as the population is increasing. Processing all this garbage is a big issue due to non-availability of sites.
While speaking to Sakal Times, Suresh Jagtap, Head of PMC’s Solid Waste Management Department, said, “We are taking action against plastic bags as per Plastic Waste Management Rules. But there were limitations on us. Now, the State government decision will help us curb plastic bags and thermocol products in the city. These two products are creating problems during recycling.”
He further said, “We held a meeting of our staff and gave directives to take strict action against vendors and seize and dispose such materials. We are expecting a circular from the State government on Friday.”