Raids after raids, but no decline in usage

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Despite the relentless attempts by the local civic body, the adverse impact of plastic products on the environment in the city has not come down. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) which banned the plastic goods below 50 microns in 2016 March, still finds thousands of kilos of plastic goods every day, making seizing plastic a priority task for its health officials.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has so far collected the fine of Rs 3.50 crore and seized about 264 tonnes of plastic items from the manufacturers and traders in the city for last three years. The number hasn’t come down despite stringent action by the local civic body.

After the March 2016 ban, the BBMP enforced the ban on plastic items in the city. Palike officials formally started conducting raids and seized about 54 tonnes of plastic items. This fell to 40 tonnes in 2017-18 due to lax implementation. Then it raised to a whopping 121 tonnes in 2018-19.

This year, in eight months, the plastic seized till August 2019 stands at 32 tonnes. Of the eight zones in the city, Yelahanka records the most number of plastic usage violations, followed by South and West zones. The number of commercial establishments is high in these areas, and plastic usage is rampant.

The enforcement of the plastic ban in the city peeked in 2018-19, as the BBMP conducted many campaigns against plastic usage in the city, by involving RWAs, school children and employees of IT firms, and conducted raids on violators. Although the plastic ban has been pushed by the BBMP, a complete ban on plastic in the city has not been achieved, as the manufacturers of plastic products have been successful in misleading the local civic body.

BBMP claims that in an attempt to ensure a complete plastic ban, it has so far closed about 22 manufacturing units in the city since 2016. However, the BBMP’s seizure records themselves disclose that the manufacturing and the supply of the plastic have not been prevented.

Speaking to DH, Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Management, BBMP, said, “There is no manufacturing of plastic in the city. But it is also true that the supply of plastic items has not stopped as these plastics which are used in the city are coming from outer states. Putting it in a simple way, most of the plastic products we seized did not have the company’s name, address, logo, GST number and other details on the covers, which itself reveals that they are all illegal manufacturing and supply,” he said. He added that the best way to ban plastic was for the public to not encourage traders.

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