The Ministry of Environment and Forests has notified the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. In Bengaluru, the ban will be in effect from today.
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Banning thin plastic bags and charging consumers is only the first step. BBMP has announced plans to setup waste segregation and plastic collection centres in ward.
Some points covered by the centre’s notification.
• Plastic carry bags shall either be white or only with those pigments and colourants which are in conformity with the bar prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
• Plastic carry bags shall not be less than 40 microns in thickness. Under the earlier Rules, the minimum thickness was 20 microns.
• No carry bags shall be made available free of cost to consumers. The municipal authority may determine the minimum price for plastic carry bags.
BBMP’s Siddaiah has reportedly said, they will seize all plastic bags that are less than 40 microns in thickness (the thickness of a Nandini milk packet).
The news seems to be percolating to retailers slowly.
Namdhari Agro Fresh, the groceries retailer has put up notices, asking customers to bring their bags. And that plastic bags will be charged at Rs 2 each. Way to go, Namdhari. While at it, why not stop wrapping all vegetables with plastic sheets? Just provide baskets or containers for customers to pick up different vegetables.
The manager at the Whitefield store told us last week that customers were not cooperating and were insisting on not paying for the plastic bags. However Namdhari had not put up the Ministry of Environment’s notice at the shop either.
"I am aware of the Ministry’s notice and would like to put it up at the outlets", said Riyaz Marol, GM at Namdhari Agro-Fresh, based at Indira Nagar. He added that he did not have a copy of the notice. Citizen Matters has since sent this to Marol.
According to the new rules, it is the municipal body, viz BBMP which has ‘To create awareness among all stakeholders about their responsibilities’.
There have been many statements of intent. Late last year, Siddaiah hinted at ‘consensual’ plastic ban. BBMP’s 2010 budget talked about banning plastic less than 20 microns (though the state government had already banned in 1999).
The new rules also mention the Solid Waste Management tasks of BBMP, whose job it is:
• To ensure setting up of collection centres for plastic waste involving manufacturers;
• To ensure its channelization to recyclers;
This means segregration at source is key.
With the encouragement and lobbying by waste management activists, some individual environment officers have started sending notices to apartments. The office of the Environmental Department, Arekere subdivision, BBMP Bommanahalli has sent this letter to apartments in its jurisdiction, on segregation of garbage.
"The garbage in houses/ commercial establishments should be segregated at source, at the place where it is generated. If the garbage is not segregated and disposed completely and scientifically, it has an adverse effect on the environment. This is a very serious issue. On account of the increasing urbanization and increased human requirements, if the waste is not properly disposed, it will cause global warming, environmental pollution and public health problems.
In connection with this subject, the Central Government Environmental Ministry’s Solid Waste anagement Rules of 2000 makes it mandatory to segregate garbage. In this respect, it is the primary responsibility of BBMP to ensure proper segregation and disposal of the garbage. Towards this, you are expected to educate the apartment residents on segregation of their wet and dry garbage into separate wet and dry bins in their houses, so that the garbage can be disposed off in an organized way. In addition to this, you need to make arrangements for e-waste to be segregated and disposed separately.
In this connection, you are required to inform the BBMP officers on the progress on the above subject."
You too can ask your ward’s Environment Officer to send such notices. BBMP has to enforce this strictly. Else citizen apathy will win.