Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has collected a total of Rs 1.1 crore in fines in the first three months of the plastic ban implemented by the Maharashtra government. The civic body has confiscated over 18,600 kilos of plastic so far. Interestingly, no part of the fine has been collected from citizens, only from businesses and bulk plastic producers.
As of Wednesday, the plastic ban squad visited 2.37 lakh shops since June 23, of which 269 owners refused to pay the fine and were issued challans. The officials said punitive action would be taken against those refusing to pay the penalty. The squad was split into 24 groups, to cover the 24 administrative wards in the city. These groups kept the focus on on big establishments and multi-national food and beverage joints, which produce bulk plastic.
While the rule doesn’t allow citizens to carry plastic and thermocol items, the BMC is yet to start levying fines on citizens. “There is no decision yet on when will we start fining citizens. As of now, we are asking the squad to spread the message and awareness related to plastic use,” said an official from the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan department, adding, “We are also planning to conduct another exhibition soon, in two different locations after the first one (in Worli) turned out to be a huge success. We are awaiting a confirmation from the civic chief.”
On March 23, a government notification banned the manufacture, use, sale, and distribution of all single-use plastic items such as bags, spoons, plates, bottles, and thermocol items. The ban came into effect on June 23. However, while the corporation feels the ban has been a success, Mumbaikars have a different way of looking at it. Citizens claimed plastic is available in the market and only some parts of the city have executed the ban. “We even saw thermocol decoration temples for Ganpati in the market. There are still plastic straws and cutlery available, and those are wrapped in polypropylene bags as well,” said Nandini Surve, a Malad resident.