Vendors let off hook for dispensing wares in plastic carry bags

Much to the relief of retail businessmen and small vendors, the Union environment ministry has dropped the idea of collecting an annual fee of Rs 48,000 from them for dispensing plastic carry bags to the consumers.

The green ministry has notified new amendments to the Plastic Waste Management rules 2016, dropping such a provision.

The 2016 rules had a provision on the "explicit pricing of carry bags", according to which shopkeepers and street vendors willing to provide plastic carry bags for dispensing any commodity were to register with the local body, which was to charge an annual fee Rs 48,000 (or Rs 4,000 each month) for registration and disposal of these bags.

The provision was put in the rules in an effort to reduce the use of plastic bags — one of the biggest environmental threats in the absence of a proper disposal system.

According to the 2016 rules, the registered shopkeepers were to display that plastic carry bags are given to the customers on payment.

Only the registered shopkeepers or street vendors were to be eligible to provide plastic carry bags for dispensing the commodities and the money collected was to be used exclusively for the sustainability of the waste management system.

But once the rules were published, the green ministry received several representations arguing against the provision. Subsequently, an expert committee was constituted to review the rules and on the basis of the panel's recommendation, the rules were modified.

"Rule 15 of the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2018 on 'explicit pricing of carry bags' has been omitted in the new rules," said a spokesperson of the ministry. The new rules were notified on March 27.

While there are few more modifications in the new Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018, the decision to let off the traders and vendors off the hook is the most vital one.

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