Herald: Plastic is not the way forward

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Plastic is not the way forward

04 Jul 2018 06:24am IST

Report by
JULIO D’SILVA

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04 Jul 2018 06:24am IST

Report by
JULIO D’SILVA

Leave a comment

The MMC may have announced a ban on the use of plastic bags by shopkeepers but it has not backed its decision with tough action

The Margao Municipal Council which announced a ban on plastic carry bags in the market has failed to implement the same though it has been conducting raids erratically against shop keepers using plastic carry bags.

Initially MMC officials in four different teams visited the market areas for about a week and fined those placing goods in plastic carry bags and many shopkeepers along with vendors in the three main markets stopped using plastic carry bags.

On 2nd April when the drive was launched, MMC booked 57 cases and fined vendors to the tune of Rs. 51,300 while on the next day they booked 29 cases and fined people to the tune of Rs. 21,700. From then on MMC has been conducting random raids against people handing over plastic carry bags. On 2nd July when MMC raided shopkeepers near power house and surrounding areas, they booked five cases and fines amounting to Rs. 7000 were levied.

However, the MMC drive has not been effective as it has not been consistent A the vendors in the market and shopkeepers the moment they see the MMC vehicles arriving and officials getting out of the vehicles hide the plastic bags and bring out the cloth bags that are brought only for display.

At the SGPDA and Gandhi market plastic bags are used by practically all the vendors. Although the fish vendors were given time till end of April 2018 to stop using plastic carry bags, they continue to disperse fish in plastic bags even now after the retail fish market at SGPDA market has been renovated.

All meat traders use plastic carry bags particularly to pack the mince that is prepared of beef. Whether it is chicken, beef, mutton or even pork, everything is packed in plastic bags which are less than 50 microns and then put in another carry bag that at times is more than 50 microns.

All the sweet marts in Margao use plastic carry bags but the biggest worry is that anything and everything that comes into the market is packed in plastic as plastic is used universally as a packing material and there is no means to stop that.

In fact Madgao New Market Traders Association President Vinod Shirodker says his organization fully supports the ban on plastic and demands that it should be done without any exemption. “Ban plastic totally and nobody should be allowed to give plastic carry bags by paying a certain fee,” he said arguing that it would mean that by paying an amount a person can get away with anything.

The MMC had asked traders to take permission to give away above 50 micron plastic bags by registering themselves by paying a fee of Rs. 48,000 per annum and some traders have done that. Vinod insisted that this exemption should also be done away with and plastic carry bags should be totally banned.

“What is the municipality doing about the plastic that is used for packaging as all the material that comes in the market is wrapped or packed in plastic?” he asked.

Meanwhile MMC Chief Officer Johnson Fernandes admitted that the council was slack for some time in the drive against plastic carry bags and said the drive is launched afresh in July. He has also referred one case to the JMFC and said such moves will make the vendors give up using plastic carry bags.

MMC has referred to the JMFC the case of Mehboob Narangi who had not paid the fine of Rs. 2000 levied against him for using plastic carry bags and the matter will now proceed in the courts. “It is only when the vendors will face the court and have to go there for the hearings that they will realize how serious we are and stop using plastic carry bags,” said Johnson.

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