Mangaluru: A visit to the Central Market in Mangaluru will make you wonder if the government has really banned plastic carry bags! Be it vegetables, fruits or other eatables, many of the shops still pack them in plastic bags. This is not the story of the central market alone, many shops and outlets in the city continue to 'help' customers by giving out plastic handbags. Despite the garbage pile-up affecting several houses near the dumping yard at Pachanady, the MCC does not seem to be serious about tacking the garbage problem by strictly imposing the ban on plastic.
Though initially the officials were seen conducting raids and imposing fines, as the days passed by, the enthusiasm has petered out. As a result, the confident vendors now use plastic carry bags without any fear. But law abiding shop owners are clearly unhappy with this as they have to face the wrath of customers."As the government had announced the ban with good intentions, we have implemented it. But many shops still continue to provide plastic carry bags. When customers who come to our shop, find that we do not provide plastic bags, they shout at us and tell us that other shops are giving them these bags. The city corporation should take immediate action to ensure that the rules are followed properly by everybody," a shopkeeper at Konchady told Deccan Chronicle.
Activists opine that 70 per cent of shops and hotels in the city still continue to provide plastic handbags to customers. "The officials who go on raids should go in disguise as customers instead of posing as officers. They should impose fines as soon as the shop owner gives the 'customer' the plastic bag. The city corporation should have squads to keep an eye on plastic and waste management. Unless the plastic ban is enforced completely, the problems at the dumping yard in Pachanady will not end," National Environment Care Federation secretary Shashidhar Shetty says.
City corporation commissioner S Ajith Kumar Hegde said the local body would initiate a major operation shortly once the byelections are over. "We had started an awareness programme and the raids too were a success. But in the past few days, all the officials are busy with election work due to which we are unable to concentrate on implementing the plastic ban," he said.
stressed on the need for awareness among people which is more effective than raids and penalties on shops. "We will conduct raids to deter the use of plastic. But people too should understand the seriousness of the ban and stop taking the bags," he added.