No thin plastic bags from today

BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah and Karnataka Pollution Control Board Chief Enivormental Officer M D M Simha at a meeting organised by BBMP IPP centre in Malleswaram on Monday. (Right) Participants at the meeting. DH photos

Manufacturers who produce plastic bags less than 40 micron thickness and retailers who sell them will be fined and the products seized, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner Siddaiah said on Monday.

Addressing mediapersons he said from March 15, the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2009 would be strictly implemented across the City and Palike health inspectors would take action against violators.

The BBMP technical staff will randomly test plastic bags sold in markets and shops and seize them if they are of less than 40-micron thickness. “We will seize the plastic bags and send them for testing to laboratories to determine whether they are in fact thinner than 40 microns,” Siddaiah said.

While plastic manufacturers said there were anomalies in the implementation of the ban, Siddaiah said the Palike was only enforcing the order of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). “We cannot relax the rules which are not under our purview.  KSPCB has issued us the order to impose the ban after the Central Pollution Control Board and the Ministry of Environment and Forests asked it to do so,” he said.

Meanwhile, plastic manufacturers had a heated debate with the KSPCB
representatives over various issues, including lack of clarity on the implementation of the ban. President of Karnataka Plastic Manufacturers’ Association, Chandra Mohan, sought to know how the KSPCB would help traders and manufacturers liquidate the current stock of plastic bags that are less than 40 microns thickness.

Representative from Peenya Plastic Manufacturers’ Association said there was no clarity on the rules for multi-layer plastic bags.

“Besides these, there has been no list of plastic carry bags and their classification circulated among manufacturers to avoid violations,” said another manufacturer. KSPCB Chief Environmental Officer M D N Simha ruled out the postponement of the ban enforcement date and maintained that the conditions (as specified in the rules) were clear.

He claimed that no application had come to the KSPCB for renewal of registration, as required by the rules. “If the manufacturers do not comply, the KSPCB is empowered to issue closure notice, cut off power and water connections to manufacturing units, and in extreme cases, prosecute them.”

On why there was on clarity among the manufacturers with regard to anomalies in the ban rules, Simha said there was no request for clarification in writing.

He appealed to the manufacturers to make a written representation to the KSPCB which will be forwarded to the MoEF and the CPCB for additional clarification.

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