Bengaluru not yet a Plastic-Free City

City Environment

Sale and usage of plastic items still continues – even after plastic has been banned in Karnataka.

Bengaluru, Aug. 23, 2018 : Despite the plastic ban in Bengaluru, the sale of plastic items is still in progress. Flower vendors in J.P. Nagar Market are seen using plastic carry bags, and when asked why are they still using it, they replied that the cloth bags cost them more than plastic carry bags.

Several other shops at J.P. Nagar Market are also selling banned plastic items like spoons, plates and cups. When asked why are they continuing the sale of banned items, they replied that this is what the customers are demanding. The shopkeepers also said that they haven’t been fined yet, as BBMP has never visited the site.

According to the Karnataka Government, the State Government in 2016 under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, issues the ban on manufacture, supply, sale and use of plastic carry bags, plastic banners, plastic buntings, flex, plastic flags, plastic plates, plastic spoons, cling film and plastic sheets used for spreading on dining table which use plastic micro beads in the state.

Shops at M.G. Road are  still using plastic carry bags, Dinesh, an employee at a store named ‘Nineteen’ said that they still have a huge stock of plastic bags, but as soon as they finish those, they will replace it with cloth bags. Another shopkeeper, Shahid, who sells clothes at M.G. Road, said that cloth bags cost him six rupees each – which is too expensive for him.

Street Vendors at K.R. Market selling peanuts, flowers etc., were also seen using plastic shopping bags, and when asked about it, they replied the customers don’t usually bring  their own bags.

Usage of plastic straws and cups are still ongoing in different cafes and restaurants like ‘Easy Tiger’ at M.G. Road, ‘McDonald’s’ at Jayanagar, and ‘Domino’s’.  A coconut vendor, named Abbu at City market said that the quality of paper straw is not as good as the plastic ones and is not easily available at the market.

[/media-credit] List of Plastic Items banned in Karnataka.

Diksha, a customer at City Market said that carrying a cloth bag is not always possible and despite of the ban on plastic, plastic bags are easily available at different shops – and that it will take some time for people to adapt the habit of keeping a cloth bag with them.

Plastic Manufacturers at Chickpete and K.R. Market are on strike for a month because of the ban on plastic, as told by Ganesh, a shopkeeper at Chickpete.

According to Dr. K.H. Vinaya Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forests and Director of EMPRI, “The implementation of law is a bit slow because of the lack of awareness among people. For instance, several brands have replaced plastic bags with cloth ones, however the cloth bags, unfortunately have a huge amount of plastic material as well.”