A trade difficult to foil as makers operate in the dark

Makers use devious ways to dodge authorities

A trade difficult to foil as makers operate in the dark

Plastic materials thinner than 40 microns are abundantly available in the market, despite the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 being in place.

BBMP, tasked with enforcing the rules, has not been able to do much to curb the manufacture, sale and use of such plastic materials. Officials maintain that manufacturers and sellers violating the rules are a tough nut to crack.

BBMP health officers - along with staff from the Palike’s engineering department - conduct raids on plastic manufacturing units and shops. They cite several reasons for not being able to enforce the rules effectively. Officials say that most units function at night and also supply material to shops during night, which makes it difficult for officials to keep tabs.
They use public transport like BMTC and private buses to dispatch the material, making it difficult to track them.

Dr Surendra, BBMP health officer of Dasarahalli zone, said, “Usually, plastic manufacturing units function at night. Sometimes, manufacturers or sellers get information about raids through their unions. We take police force with us as arguments or even fights may break out.”

Dr Manoranjan Hegde, health officer, south zone, said plastic bags are sometimes brought through public transport vehicles, which the Palike finds tough to locate. Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh supply the highest quantum of plastics with thickness below 40 microns.

Dr Vaman Acharya, former chairman of Karnataka State Pollution and Control Board, said the Palike was the competent authority to file cases against manufacturing units or suppliers, seize plastic, cancel trade licences and slap fine. KSPCB officers conduct inspections along with their Palike counterparts.

“If the municipal authorities fail to ensure proper segregation of plastic waste, KSPCB can file complaints. The government’s decision is good and will wake up the civic agency. However, implementation will be effective only if there is coordination among all government bodies,” Acharya said.

Garbage generated in Bengaluru every day is around 4,000 tonnes. Of this, plastics, metals, glass and paper are 2,250 tonnes, said Palike spokesperson S S Khandre.

Awareness drives planned
Mayor Manjunatha Reddy told Deccan Herald that from November 2 or 3, the Palike will start awareness campaigns among the shopkeepers against selling plastics thinner than 40 microns. “If they continue, we will slap notices. We will take action against bulk sellers. All problems at landfills such as fires and foul smell will come down with the strict enforcement of the ban,” he said.


The Ayes have it


It is a welcome move. This should have been implemented a long time ago. Plastic menace is evident not only on land, but even in water bodies. Around 40 years ago, people used to carry their own bags to places. Plastics are a luxury that can be avoided. Research needs to be conducted on plastics to make them environment friendly.
Padmakumar M M, assistant professor,
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Christ University

Banning bags was never a solution. It is pretty impractical to ban such a widely used commodity. The ideal approach would be to create a system of recycling the bags. There is a drop in the number of customers asking for bags. Today, we see many customers carrying their own bags to supermarkets. As citizens, we have seen the changes in the stores and on the street.”
Gowtham Sharma,
BE student, Sri Krishna Institute of Technology, Bengaluru

It is a good decision by the government to tackle the plastic menace. Stringent laws should be enforced by the government to ensure it does not fail again. Vendors and shopkeepers should encourage the public to carry jute and paper bags while shopping.
Vishwanath Karaba, Kannada lecturer, Government
PU College, Kundapura

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