March 1, 2020 1:51:08 am
With State Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray on Friday reiterating his pledge to make Maharashtra single-use plastic free by May 1, starting Sunday, BMC will revive its special drive against single-use plastic by hawkers as well as in markets, shops and establishments, banquets, offices and restaurants of Mumbai.
The government had banned the use of disposable plastic, including plastic bags, cups, spoons, plates and tiffin containers among others, in March 2018. It had given three months to users, retailers and manufacturers to get rid of such items and ban had come into effect on June 23.
The ban, which imposes a penalty between Rs 5,000 and Rs 25,000 for those violating the rules, was the brainchild Aaditya. However, after about a year, the drive lost momentum and single-use plastic is now freely available in the market.
Following the ban, BMC had set up the blue squad — a team of 310 officials from shops and establishments, license and market departments — to inspect and confiscate banned plastics. Now, it has decided to set up such teams for each of the 24 wards in the city. The teams will begin inspections from March 1.
Since June 2018, BMC has seized 86,000 kg of banned plastic and collected fine worth Rs 4.65 crore. During the same period, BMC officials have visited over 16 lakh establishments in the city. BMC also plans to hold competitions on the theme of plastic ban, encouraging students to deposit banned plastic items in schools and take a pledge to not use single-use plastic. Further, it plans to appoint a nodal officer for the implementation of plastic ban and put in service a toll free number for complaints against storage, use and transportation of the banned items.
Through a video conference, Aaditya had held a meeting with senior officials from districts, environment department, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and BMC on February 4. Urging officials to make plastic ban a mass movement and successfully implement the ban by the end of 2020, he asked BMC to engage with school and college students, members of clubs, housing societies and NGOs, among others.
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