Bengaluru, 11 July 2018 [Fik/News Sources]: Though the BBMP has passed a resolution to cancel trade licence of establishments using banned plastics, to make the city plastic free, the activists feel it may not have the desired effect, as banned plastic is used mainly by outlets which do not have trade licence. Earlier Deputy Chief Minister and Bengaluru Development Minister Dr Parameshwar had tweeted that there shall be a zero tolerance approach in the quest towards elimination of plastic usage.
Solid Waste Management expert N.S. Ramakanth said this resolution is good only on paper and will lead nowhere. "How many units in the city really have trade licence? Majority of them are operating without them. Then how can the cancellation of the licence act as a deterrent from used of banned plastic?" he remarked. It is the small time traders and the street vendors and hoteliers who are use single use plastics. What the BBMP officials should really do is to catch hold of them, Ramakanth said. Instead of slapping hefty fines on such small time players, Ramakanth insisted that the officials carry out regular raids and seize plastic from them.
"When the traders start losing the business for the day, they will surely insist the customers to bring cotton bags or any other bag from next time onwards. Even the buyer will realise that he cannot bring his goods home if he fails to carry a bag with him," Ramakanth explains.
He lamented that the government lacked the political will to enforce plastic ban and claimed the enforcement was uneven in the city.
"Do you know, in HSR Layout and Yelahanka, mutton and chicken is being wrapped in banana leaves and packed in papers. Such is the extent of plastic ban there. Whereas in other areas we find the rule being floated without any fear as officials hardly care to raid such units," he said.
Solid waste management expert and co-founder of Friends of Lakes, Ram Prasad said that apart the vendors, people who are seen using the bags should also be fined.
"If they are found carrying bags, they should be fined on the spot," he said. He added that the plastic ban implementation was toothless and suggested that the health inspectors be given targets.
"The amount spend towards processing the plastic waste generated in a BBMP zone should be recovered from the fines slapped by the health inspectors. Only then the inspectors will work proactively to reduce plastic use in their respective zones."