The plastic ban in Maharashtra may have been partially effective, though it has visibly inconvenienced both citizens and establishments alike. To add to the woes, alternate packaging material has been in short supply, resulting in small establishments having to down their shutters to tide over this period.
Pune365 spoke to informed citizens, NGOs and establishments on the post ban concerns to understand the gaps in the implementation process:
Plastic is used extensively in every material we use, it is a versatile material which really has no alternative, says Dr. Medha Tadpatrikar, founder of Rudra NGO.
The government has forgotten that plastic is not only restricted to polythene bags. Though, I agree that plastic is indeed hazardous, but that is only when appropriate collection and reuse is not carried out. Almost all plastics can be reused and some can be recycled as many as 10-12 times.
The important aspect here is our own habits and following of rules, the blame game can be played later on. Segregating plastic waste and giving it to NGOs, who work for recycling plastic will help and contribute towards a healthy environment. Small vendors are facing a tough time, as they have plastic bags stock. Moreover, they have little awareness of cloth bag manufacture.
Countries like USA, UK and Canada have completely stopped the usage of plastic by giving many substitutes to the consumers. Our government should also subsidise items to encourage people to bring their own cloth bags for buying commodities.
“The ban will certainly not make the city totally clean and pollution free, yet spreading awareness about effective recycling and reuse will contribute towards a better environment and lifestyle,” she adds.
Ravi Jashnani, President of the Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers Association says, “The ban has not been implemented successfully in the city. The ban is on all types of plastic bags, yet only carry bags are being targeted. All kinds of packing bags are easily available with all user industries.
People have also started using banned products like compatible and non-woven bags as carry bags. In fact, compostobile bags are to be used only for the agriculture and horticulture purposed as well as for garbage bags.
if you go to any restaurant, or any juice vendor, the parcel is given in a plastic container , Only use of carry bags is stopped and plastic is available in other forms all over the market, Jashnani adds.
Suraj Rajput, a shopkeeper says, ” I now open my shop on alternate days because of this ban imposed by the government. Because the grains we sell are packed in plastic, the cloth bag is not affordable for us, nor for the consumers.
For example, if a consumer has to buy 12 different grains and pulses, he has to purchase 12 bags wherein one bag cost Rs 10. How do you think that is affordable for the common man?
I have tried alternatives by packing them in paper or paper bags, but failed as the weight is too much to be handled by paper. The risk of breaking makes it impossible to carry grains in paper bags. I have also ordered the recycled bags, but they are low on stock too and not available now.
The government should have at least ensured that the alternate bags supply is sufficient for the city, before imposing a ban. all over the city for at least a month,” Rajput adds.
An official from Reliance Fresh said that “We have been using recyclable bags before the ban. We use cloth bags for the customers to takeaway well before the government ban and implementation.
Our store has been using cloth bags for a very long time and we have enough stock of cloth bags. Other commodities available in the store like vegetables and fruits use recyclable bags.
Another official from DMART said, “We have started using the cloth bags, but we do have some stock of plastic bags for buying cereals, pulses and other grains. We haven’t yet started using recyclable bags, pending order is issued from our senior management.”
Fruit juice vendor, Ramsingh Mishra has this to say, “The government has not come up with any other alternative to plastic before implementing the ban. It is very difficult to find recyclable glasses and for past 15 days,
I have stopped giving take-away parcels to the customers. I have paid the fine as well, still have not come across any alternative to plastic. Thermocol glasses can be used as a substitute, but that is more harmful to the environment.
The government has been extremely unreasonable by banning plastic, this is very inconvenient says Sudha Mankar, Working woman.
There is no planning made before taking this decision, no prior notice, nothing. There is no commodity in which plastic is not present,s from chocolates to your tiffin box, everything consists of plastic.
How are they going to implement the ban on every commodity we used? The rate for vegetable and food grains have already reached the sky, now the government is adding an expense of extra Rs 10 of cloth bags. Today everything is packed, be it your juice or grains, and without plastic, everything would be exposed to flies and dust.
Although plastic has many disadvantages, banning plastic is certainly not the solution, she adds.
“Every small food outlet near our office is closed, thanks to this ban and we’re now forced to pay more and eat in our cafeteria” says Nisha Nalmwar, Techie.
We used to frequent these small stalls during our breaks and also pick up lunch etc from them, but all have now stopped selling food, as the government has imposed fines on them, twice in one month.
The manufacture of plastic has stopped overnight without even considering the consequences of banning plastic in a state, where everything is depended on plastic.
They are really giving a tough time to roadside vendor,s who have been the sole bread earner for their families. The vendors have completely stopped giving parcels, and we are burning a huge hole in our pockets, she adds.
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