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One year on, plastic ban in KR Market ineffective

By Sromona Bhattacharyya

sromona.b@iijnm.org

Bangalore Sept 5, 2017: One year after the ban on plastic by the Karnataka Government, single-use plastic bags continue to be used in Bangalore’s Krishna Rajendra Market.

Plastic being used commercially at KR Market

Rahan, a fruit seller at the market said that the ban on plastic isn’t enforced as heavily as it should be. He added that the BBMP rarely comes to check for plastic covers in the market.
Dr. Suresh GK, Medical Officer of Health of the KR Market Ward said that in order to curb the use of plastic covers in KR Market; the department was divided into teams whose sole purpose was to educate the vendors about the ban when it started, by making use of microphones and autorickshaws.
“Currently, the BBMP is in possession of 3 to 4 tonnes of plastic covers that has been seized by the officials,” said Dr. Suresh GK.
Single use plastic covers in KR Market are generally used to pack and sell commodities like fruits, vegetables, flowers etc.
In a circular issued by the BBMP, Bangalore produces 4000 MT of MSW a day out of which 350 to 450 MT is plastic waste. The BBMP is to impose penalties of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 on domestic users of plastic.

Malini Parmar, member of Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT) and co-founder of Stonesoup.in, said, “prolonged use of single use disposable plastic not only creates visual pollution but blocks drains which results in flooding that is very apparent in Bangalore.”

Vendors at KR Market using plastic

Burning plastic leads to hormonal imbalances. The ashes get mixed with soil which  is transferred to food crops and since most of these landfills are along the city periphery, it all comes back to us said Mrs. Parmar.
Ranganatha, a resident of Cubbonpet and a daily shopper at KR Market said that he uses plastic bags whenever he is out to shop unprepared. Although plastic has been banned, he has never seen BBMP officials impose penalties on plastic users, he said. 
Dr Suresh said, “BBMP can play a role only with end users and not manufacturers since more than one player is involved. We only seize what we can see.”
Mr. Suresh, a stationery shop owner at KR Market mentioned that even if the BBMP comes, they hide the covers in order to save themselves from getting penalized.

KR Market, Mrs. Parmar said has not seen enough enforcement or citizen participation unlike places like HSR Layout or Bommanahalli. This policy has been largely successful because citizen groups have worked hand in hand with the BBMP in order to curb the use of plastic, she said.

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