Ban on plastic bags < 40 micron proves costly for vendors

Alternatives such as paper bags, cloth bags and plastic bags thicker than 40 microns that cost Rs two a piece, are costlier and a burden on customers. Shopkeepers and vendors, hence, continue to use thin plastic bags that come for just 10 paise.

Besides, small vendors and grocers find it hard to convince their customers to get their own carry bags, or pay a price for eco-friendly bags. “Customers are unhappy over the constant rise in the prices of commodities and now charging them for a plastic cover would add to their worries,” said Ramaswamy, a vegetable vendor.

The situation is worse with mutton and chicken merchants in Shivajinagar.

“It is very difficult for such trades to use eco-friendly bags. Even for small quantities we need to pack the items separately. Moreover, customers get annoyed if we pack the stuff in a paper,” said Mohammed Farooq. Many a time, vendors tend to lose customers if they refuse to give them a plastic cover for free.

There are a few shop owners, though, who sincerely abide by the rules and to a certain extent, have succeeded in their effort.

Abdul Rehman, a grocer at Chinnappa Garden, said: “When the ban was imposed, initially we were very firm and our customers responded well. Now, about 60 per cent of them carry their bags with them. But we still face a lot of difficulty in dealing with the rest.”

Shops and showrooms in malls, Commercial Street and Brigade Road had voluntarily stopped using plastic bags less than 20 microns, much before the BBMP’s initiative.

Upendra, a store manager of Woodland outlet on Commercial Street said: “Since long, we were using both paper bags as well as plastic bags. Now, when the notification has come from the Government, we have dumped all our existing stocks of plastic bags in our head office and are only using paper bags.”

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