Navi Mumbai: COVID-19 slows down action against use of banned plastics

The action against the single-use of plastic bags has come down drastically in Navi Mumbai in the last eight months. Now, shops, hawkers, and roadside vendors can be seen using single-use plastic bags easily. The civic body says that COVID 19 is the main reason for the slow-down in action.

As per the data available with the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), the civic body collected around Rs 2.2 lakh fine from violators from April to November this year. However, the lockdown was imposed in March last week across the country which was eased in a phased manner.

According to civic official, in the last seven to eight months, the major concern is controlling the spread of COVID-19 and most of the civic staff are involved in COVID-19 duty. From April 2019 to March 2020, the civic body had collected over Rs 32 lakh fines from the violators.

In 2018, the Maharashtra government had imposed a ban on manufacturing, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials that included one-time-use bags, spoons, and plates, among others.

The use of single-use plastic bags below 50 microns was already banned in 2006 and in 2018, the state government banned all kinds of single-use plastics and thermocol. Following this, the civic body had formed eight committees at the ward level.

As per the civic administration, during the lockdown, all the shops were closed and so there was almost no use of plastic bags. However, after easing in the lockdown, shops opened and some shops and roadside vendors are violating the laws.

A senior civic official said that the civic body will soon launch a drive to check the illegal use of plastics in the city.

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