The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) banned the use of thin plastic following a Ministry for Environment and Forests notification of the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.
The Palike had announced plans to set up waste segregation and plastic collection centres in each of the 198 wards. The then Palike Commissioner Siddaiah had even said the civic body will seize plastic bags which are less than 40 microns. But, use of such plastic bags continues unabated in the City and, the BBMP’s announcements have remained on paper.
“Even plastic less than 20 micron is in use in meat shops. This was banned way back in 2001,” said George Varghese, a City-based environmentalist, who had worked on educating people on the plastic menace.
Recalling the recent ban, he said that in the initial days there was excitement about the ban. “There were frequent raids by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and other implementing agencies, but gradually it died down,” he added.
Vaman Acharya, chairman, KSPCB, admitting that there has been a lapse in implementing the plastic ban, said that there should be combined efforts in this regard.
Combined efforts needed
“There should be representatives from municipal administration, respective deputy commissioners and the KSPCB, along with experts who can confirm whether the plastic is less than 40 microns. The deputy commisioner and the municipal administration must inform us regarding the units which manufacture such plastics so that we can initiate action by disconnecting power supply or through any other mode,” he said.
On plastic bags used for packing food, Acharya said the law does not apply to polythene plastic bags used for storage or groceries packed in supermarkets.
However, he said that there has been an awareness among the people and the use of thin plastic has come down by a large extent.
“For instance, during the raids earlier, huge quantities of banned plastic used to be seized. But now, we do not find that,” he said, adding that people themselves refuse to use such plastic.
However, George said that though the manufacturing of thin plastic has come down, steps should be taken to prevent dumping of the banned plastic from the neighbouring states.
Source of cancer
The indiscriminate use and disposal of plastic not only pollutes environment, but also causes cancer as plastic is carcinogenic.
As the handbags which are less than 40 microns thick cannot be recycled, they are indiscriminately disposed off, he explained.