PTI Photo
PTI Photo

Mumbai : A Hamlet-like situation prevails in Mumbai on the first day of plastic ban. Public is unsure whether garbage bin bags, the thin plastic ones are banned or not. Confusion continues to prevail and after much persuasion by journalists and public, additional municipal commissioner, Nidhi Chaudhari responded on social media after photos were sent to her to confirm the status of banned bin bags.

“So far, compostable bags require certification from CPCB and therefore don’t buy any products which is not certified by CPCB,” tweeted Nidhi Chaudhari.

For firsts, many don’t even know Central Pollution Control Board. Housing societies are the first to put out this query.

The minute the ban was implemented, many members called in panic. Messages on social media platforms unnerved many, as speculations were rife regarding the fines and banned items.

On the first day of BMC’s ban on plastic, confusion prevailed as households were uncertain of what the ban comprised. In Kalbadevi, secretary of Yash Heights, Housing Society, Agnes Fernandes began receiving phone

calls asking for a status on existing garbage bags.

“From Friday, I received three phone calls from building residents, asking if they were still permitted to use black bin bags. Unfortunately, I was unsure myself and could not help them out. There is a lot of confusion as to what is banned and what isn’t,” said Fernandes.

Consumers are upset they have to discard the existing garbage bags, as most have bought authentic ‘biodegradable’ bags, which now officials claim will need certification. A housewife in a posh locality in Bhandup is insistent that she won’t throw her garbage bin liners.

“I won’t be replacing my plastic garbage bin liners since the packaging says they are biodegradable. I am using separate bags for wet and dry waste. The ban does not say anything about garbage liners. Anyway, there is no point in throwing the liners because despite segregating the garbage, BMC garbage collectors throw it all into the same truck,” said Nalini.

People have blamed state and civic officials for not spreading awareness regarding banned items and alternatives available. Most feel that this should have been done in the last three months, which the government failed to do and caused more fear and confusion. “Housewives are now worried about disposal of garbage. Without the current garbage bags,  how can we dispose daily household wastage? In that case we should have been given some information on alternatives available,” said Jayshree, a home-maker residing at Dombivali.

Officials say this process is going to be lengthy and may require a few months. “Compostable bags will make way into the market slowly but there is a need for it to be regulated. This will take two or three months. We want to streamline which compostable bags are quality, and which are not. There are chances that producers will start selling fake compostable bags to get rid of plastic that they have with them,” said P Anbalagan, Secretary, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.

BMC crackdown

BMC took action against 11 outlets at a shopping complex in Lower Parel. Although the civic body had maintained that no punitive action would be taken before Monday, the corporation fined 11 outlets from Phoenix Mall after banned plastic materials were found in the premises.

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