Plastic ban: BMC to launch ‘Rath Yatra’ from Maharashtra Day to educate people

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to organise a ‘rath yatra’ against plastic use across the city citing lack of awareness about the plastic ban from Maharashtra Day. The ban imposed by the government has left many Mumbaikars confused about the items that are banned and those that are exempted.

The yatra will begin from Tuesday and will go on for three days. The civic body will start taking punitive action against violators of the state-wide ban on plastic after June 23, which is less than two months away. Sangita Hasnale, assistant municipal commissioner (planning), said civic officials will carry out a march to spread awareness in the Western suburbs, Eastern suburbs and south Mumbai on May 1,2 and 3 respectively.

“Although the march is planned for just three days, we want this rath yatra to continue for two months. Die to this, citizens will get to know about the ban, the alternatives to plastic and how to obtain them. BMC and advanced locality management bodies (ALMs) will be working together to promote self-help groups (SHGs) and the eco-friendly products they manufacture over the next couple of months,” said Hasnale.

The BMC will go all-out on awareness campaign after the state government issued a notification about a month ago and left with less than two months left before implementing the state-wide ban on plastic items such as bags, plastic cutlery, thermocol and decoration items.

Apart from undertaking the yatra and working with ALMs, the civic body plans to reach out to people through short films, advertisements in movie halls and street plays in each administrative ward. Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner and the BMC nodal officer for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, said, “Citizens have not responded well to plastic disposal bins. Bottle-crushing machines will soon be placed at 100 locations in the city,” he said. Currently, plastic collection bins have been placed in 74 civic markets and 68 more are planned to be set up in the rest of the markets.

Meanwhile, people have been treating plastic at individual or society level. Some socities have started collecting all plastic wastes in separate bins and give it for recycling. “I have not been accepting or using plastic bags for over three years after I got to know of its side effects. This ban is being implemented now; I had banned plastic from my life long back. I use jute and ‘jhola’ bags instead,” said Amba Savla, a 44-year-old Malad resident.

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