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Plastic ban works: less waste,no monsoon flooding in Vile Parle vegetable market

The Vile Parle (E) vegetable market has become cleaner and greener in the three months since it imposed a plastic ban on itself.

Written by Nitya Kaushik | Mumbai |
August 27, 2009 1:27:53 am

The Vile Parle (E) vegetable market has become cleaner and greener in the three months since it imposed a plastic ban on itself.

Since May,when the public-private trial initiative began,the BMC has noted a significant reduction in plastic wastes in the area since May. This has prevented clogging of drains and resulted in reduced flooding.

“We have noticed a sure 90 per cent fall in polythene wastes in garbage bins around the market,” says Ranjeet Dhakne,ward officer of K-East ward. He added,however,that a systematic calculation of the waste generation at the market is yet to be conducted.

Vile Parle is the only vegetable market in the city to have adopted a zero plastic policy. The model has been welcomed by civic officials,the police,residents and even vendors.

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“These bags clogged gutters and drains and choked the market,especially during the monsoon. Now,our market is not flooded when it rains,” says vendor Shyamlal Yadav,who has run stalls in the market for 10 years.

Till May,Yadav used to buy 200 plastic thailis every day for about Rs 50. Now,he packs customers’ vegetables in newspapers. “Most are understanding but some question us. Thankfully the BMC has given us all a notice calling for a ban on plastics which we can put up next to our tokri,” he says,pulling out a laminated board that reads in Devnagri: “Plasticcha moha tala” (Get rid of your want for plastic).

Grocery shops,bookstores and even shops in the nearby meat market have started to follow the example.

The government bans plastic bags of thickness below 50 microns; in Vile Parle,Dhakne says,the ban was a model adopted as a trial. “While we can’t fine people for use of plastics above 50 microns,several locals came together and explained to shopkeepers how plastics can harm the environment. If it works,the civic authorities can adopt it in other markets,we thought. Thankfully we have the support of residents and the police here,” he says.

The local Kapol Bank stitched 40,000 cloth bags and distributed them to households. Vile Parle has about 25,000 households as per the 1991 census.

Aparna Deodhar,who has lived in the locality for 35 years,says,“The Vile Parle market is a large one with nearly 150 vendors. At one time they handed out nearly 200 thailis,adding up to 3,000 bags in the environment everyday.”

Deodhar says the ban was an awareness drive six months ago,but in May they decided to do away with plastic altogether.

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