Earlier in July, Bengaluru Development Minister Dr G Parameshwara had directed the BBMP to enforce the plastic ban on war footing.

Bluru civic body officials strike down on vendors using plastic seize 15 lakh tonnes Representational image
news Civic Issues Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 16:01

Three years after the plastic ban was introduced in Bengaluru, the city’s civic body, has finally began enforcing the rule.

Officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP’s) Solid Waste Management department on Tuesday and Wednesday conducted checks on retail outlets and raided shops of vendors of banned plastic items.

The BBMP officials have managed to seized 1.5 tonnes of banned plastic items within a span of two days.

According to officials with the BBMP’s Solid Waste Management Department, surprise checks were carried out in shops located in Avenue Road, KR Market and Neelasandra.

Sources in the BBMP say that the officials seized banned plastic items weighing 1 tonne from just one shop located on Avenue Road.

Surprise checks were also conducted in 15 shops located in Neelasandra and almost all shops in KR Market.

“This is not the first time we have conducted surprise checks on shops in Avenue Road. A few days ago, the shop owners were warned against the use of plastic or the sale of banned plastic items. We have warned them twice before and yet they continue to violate the rules. Hence, we are going ahead with revoking their trade licences,” the BBMP official said.

The BBMP is imposing a fine of Rs 10,000 on those who own small shops and Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh for larger shop owners.  

According to the official, the Palike began cracking down on shops in KR Market and Avenue Road as these are the shops which sell plastic items to shop owners from other areas in the city.

“If we go after the outlets which supply to all other parts, then it will be more effective. We are also going to conduct surprise checks in other areas and the enforcement will stay on until violations stop,” the official added.

Earlier in July, the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka and the Bengaluru Development Minister Dr G Parameshwara had directed the BBMP to enforce the plastic ban on war footing.

“Many legislators suggested a plastic ban to make Bengaluru plastic free. Efforts are on for it. All effective and strict measures will be taken to make the city plastic free,” Dr Parameshwara had told the media on July 18.

However, N Ramakanth Chairman of the BBMP Solid Waste Management Roundtable says that 20% of the 1,600 tonne dry waste generated per day in Bengaluru is low-grade plastic.

Since the ban was introduced in 2015, the BBMP officials have been trying to impose the plastic ban but the accumulation of plastic has not ended.

According to sources in the BBMP the main reason is that there are not many officials to enforce the ban as the Palike is short staffed and one health inspector has to cover all shops in each ward.

“We are trying to rectify this. In addition to enforcing the ban, alternatives to plastics must be introduced and promoted. Otherwise, street-side vendors will not follow the rules. And unless people start carrying bags to grocery stores or to any store while shopping, this cannot be seriously imposed,” the BBMP official added.