In a move to enforce single-use plastic ban in the city, Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) officials seized 700 kgs worth of disposable plastic goods on Monday. Health Officer Iqbal Hussain, who conducted inspections in the One Town area along with a few sanitary inspectors, found that 12 shops were still selling single-use plastic items, even after a gazette notification regarding the ban was issued.
A total penalty of Rs 50,000 was imposed on the shops. The seized plastic goods included plastic carry bags, disposable glasses and thermocol plates.
Hussain said that in spite of conducting awareness programs and meetings with wholesalers and retailers from two months before the ban was officially implemented, some of the businesses had failed to comply with the ban.
“We have organised meetings with the Commissioner to raise awareness. They say that they have stocks left, but they were informed about the ban well in advance. They had said they would cooperate, but some of them have continued to keep their plastic stocks, instead of providing alternatives like jute and paper bags as instructed,” Hussain said.
He added that businesses found to be selling single-use plastic items even after seizing of goods and being warned, will have their shops sealed, and would have to take up the matter with higher authorities.
VMC has conducted awareness programmes with local businesses like tiffin centres, and has also met with mall authorities and food delivery service providers like Zomato, to ensure that the ban is effectively enforced. “All single-use plastic is banned, regardless of thickness, micron count, etc. Such inspections are going to be a routine process, so businesses must voluntarily give up the sale of plastic materials,” Hussain said.
The VMC is also conducting street plays in all divisions of the city to communicate the environmental and health concerns of plastic use to citizens.
The ban on single-use plastic was implemented across the Krishna district, from the second week of August. District Collector Md Imtiaz had told media that special measures will be taken to enforce the ban, including ensuring the availability of cotton and cloth bags, paper bags and paper glasses. District officials had earlier said that almost 150 tonnes of single-use plastic was being generated in the city each day.