Mid-size plastic bag sellers set to faceBBMP crackdown

Mid-size plastic bag sellers set to faceBBMP crackdown

Two years after its ban on plastic, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is planning a crackdown on mid-size wholesalers continuing to sell plastic bags and covers.

Palike officials said the time is right to pounce on wholesale distributors, who sell a large number of plastic carry bags and covers, unlike the big retailers, shopping malls and exclusive footwear and apparel stores where their use has been restricted to a certain extent.

"Shopping malls and high-end restaurants put additional charge on customers for plastic bags," Sarfaraz Khan, BBMP joint commissioner for health and solid waste management, said.

"But small-scale traders like street vendors and grocery shops find it cumbersome to give cloth bags or charge more for plastic bags that come within permissible limits. We want to put a curb on them selling plastic that would eliminate their use," Khan added.

The only way for the civic body to choke the supply chain is to stop mid-level wholesalers pumping an outrageous amount of plastic bags into the small retail sector. "We've got a list of traders who distribute plastic bags," said Dr Sandhya, BBMP's nodal officer.

"We'll seize their stock and fine them up to Rs 1 lakh."

The civic body is targeting local markets in Jayanagar, Yeshwantpur, Madiwala, Dasarahalli, Peenya and KR Markets. Palike officials are waiting for the marshals to accompany them in their raids. "We're taking their (marshals) help to prevent any untoward incidents," Khan said.

Officials from the BBMP, revenue department, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the police will also participate in the raids. "If the street vendors come to know that we're penalising those selling plastic bags, they will switch to paper bags," Khan said.