A year after plastic ban, BMC collects Rs 3.47 crore as fine, lodges 489 FIRs; activists term move a farce

Mumbai: A year after the Maharashtra government enforced a state-wide plastic ban, civic officials in Mumbai have collected Rs 3.47 crore as fine from offenders besides lodging 489 FIRs against them in the metropolis.

The government's state-wide ban on the use of plastic items, including carry-bags and thermocol, came into effect on 23 June, 2018.

 A year after plastic ban, BMC collects Rs 3.47 crore as fine, lodges 489 FIRs; activists term move a farce

File image of head office of BMC. Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

All kinds of plastic bags, irrespective of their thickness, tea cups, glasses, thermocol glasses, thermocol used for decoration, plastic used in hotels to parcel food like boxes, spoons were covered under the purview of the ban.

For first-time offenders, the fine was fixed at Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 for second-time offenders. Those who violate it for the third time are fined Rs 25,000 along with an imprisonment of three months.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), as the ban enforcing authority in the metropolis, has collected Rs 3.47 crore as fine from offenders, besides lodging 489 FIRs against them, the civic body said in a statement Wednesday.

According to the BMC, till 25 June, the inspectors appointed to check the use of banned plastics made 10.35 lakh visits and seized 61,851 kg of banned items.

Notably, of the seized 61,851 kg banned plastics, 28,000 kg was seized in the first four months of the implementation.

According to environmental activists, the ban has failed to curb use of plastic items.

Amrita Bhattacharjee, a green activist, said, "Most of the shops selling vegetables, sweets or grocery items are happily offering plastic bags to their customers. Customers, too, are not afraid of carrying plastic bags."

Bhattacharjee, a member of the Aarey Conservation Group — a forum of activists that is trying to save trees coming in way of the metro rail project — termed the plastic ban as a "farce".

"The plastic ban notification was nothing but a farce. The MPCB (Maharashtra Pollution Control Board) was supposed to be responsible for its implementation but they have completely failed to perform their duty and plastic is again back in the market," she said.

When contacted, a senior civic official said though the implementation lost momentum in subsequent months, it won't be right to say it was a complete failure.

"Usage of single-use plastic items has been reduced significantly. Even plastic manufacturers have started another businesses. We hope a day will shortly come when there will be no single-use plastic item in the market," he said.

Updated Date: Jun 26, 2019 23:40:40 IST