Thiruvananthapuram ill-prepared for plastic ban

The ban, effective from July 1, comes without any alternative

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city Corporation which had failed to enforce the ban on plastic since 2007 has not come up with any road map for the smooth implementation of the ban from July 1. The civic body has decided to implement a ban on plastic bags below 50 microns from next month. The actual levying of fine on offenders will begin from July 15 after a short two-week awareness campaign.

The hasty implementation comes without investing on a door to door publicity campaign and creation of cloth bag manufacturing as an alternative. Smallscale traders are still figuring out how to tackle the ban. “Until 2014, there used to be intermittent raids and seizure of illegal plastic stock. It is hard to identify the microns of the plastic bags they have. All small vendors especially Thattukadas continue to use plastic wrappers on the plate while serving food just as they did earlier. They will have to shift to banana leaves or aluminium foils,” an official said.

The Corporation is planning to issue holograms for all plastic bags above 50 microns. The concept intends to bring accountability and even raise the price of the bag. Traders will have to purchase the hologram worth Rs 1 per sticker and stick it on the bags. “Earlier, plastic vendors were charged up to Rs 48,000 per month. Apart from this, the government has increased VAT from 5 to 20 per cent. Now, the Corporation expects that the plastic cover will become pricier in the market,” the official added.

Online grocery providers say that once they switch to cloth bags, customers will opt out of covers during delivery affecting ease of business. But an official asked, “How will we deliver stuff to all customers at home without any cover? You cannot take each vegetable by hand and deliver it. Or else we will have to switch to expensive cloth bags but if everyone does not do it simultaneously, there is no point in this ban.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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