Hyderabad: Plastic still available at stores despite ban

Currently, the ban on plastic in Hyderabad is limited to manufacture and use of plastic carry bags measuring below 50 microns.

HYDERABAD: Despite the state government banning plastic bags of less than 50 microns thickness, they are still available across the city. The government in June this year had banned single-use plastic and asked officials not to use disposables like water bottles and glasses.

Tturning a blind eye to the government's instructions, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has failed to regulate the use of plastic not only in the city but also in its own office.

Currently, the ban on plastic in Hyderabad is limited to manufacture and use of plastic carry bags measuring below 50 microns, which is about 0.05 millimetres. This is in accordance with the plastic waste management rules, 2016, of the Central government, which made it mandatory to ban plastic bags with thickness less than 50 microns.

Eighteen states and Union Territories have completely banned plastic bags, regardless of thickness. Telangana is one of the few states where such a ban is not in place yet. States where a complete ban on plastic bags is in place, are struggling to efficiently implement the ban.

Due to the nexus between the corporation’s ground level staff, plastic bags below 50 microns are found in grocery stores, meat shops and provisional stores in the city. Officials claimed that it would be an impossible task to curb use of plastic until manufacturing units stopped production.

On the contrary, shopkeepers claimed that use of more than 50 microns plastic bag would affect their daily business since they were costly and could not be given to the customers free of cost.

Shopkeepers said carry bags above 50 microns cost Rs 95 for a kilogram, the higher the quality, the more the price. But for one kilogram they would get 80 to 85 carry bags whereas for carry bags below 50 microns, the quantity would be more.

“Unlike a big supermarket, I cannot charge for a carry bag. The plastic ban has only benefited supermarkets and malls who have been charging Rs 5 to Rs 10 based on the size of the carry bag, which was earlier given for free. I cannot lose my business by charging for plastic bags,” Mr Md Rafique, a provisional store owner in Begum Bazaar said. Street vendors, hawkers, traders and meat shop owners also suffer from the same problem.

Surprisingly, following the instructions of TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao, municipal administration principal secretary Arvind Kumar in June gave instructions to ban the single use plastic in all government offices. Mr Rao even expressed displeasure over usage of water bottles during a review meeting at the GHMC headquarters. However, the use of plastic bottles continues in all government offices, including municipal offices and collectorates. “It is impossible to curb the plastic menace. It may be possible only after shutting the manufacturing units. A complete plastic ban by 2022 will be possible only with stern decisions by the government,” a GHMC official said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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