The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) 10-member squad seized 5 kg polythene bags (below 40 mm thickness) during raids after the ban on polythene has come into effect in the city. The BMC’s squad has been conducting raids twice every week for the past few months. The officials have been raiding markets and collecting non-bio-degradable polythene bags across the city.
There is now a blanket ban on polythene bags with the defaulter being liable for punishment under the rule.
With the ban on polythene being converted into a blanket ban recently, only one private company now caters to the market’s needs for biodegradable polythene. There are reports that an Ahmedabad-based company is interested in supplying biodegradable polythene in Bhubaneswar. But they have to first submit their products before the BMC, which will be sent to the State Pollution Control Board for analysis. Any company interested in circulating their products will have to go through the same process.
The BMC has set the lower limit for selling biodegradable polythene above 40 mm thickness at `1 per 5 kg. But they have not yet set an upper limit for the company selling these biodegradable products. “We have not yet received any complaint regarding any of the biodegradable polythene bags being highly priced yet,” said a senior BMC official.
The residents of the city are slowly getting used to polythene ban and have started carrying cloth or jute bags while shopping. However, the private shopping malls have been eluding the ban in more ways than one. Not only are they using polythene below 40 mm thickness that are non-biodegradable, but are also charging their customers additional amount varying from ` 3 to ` 5 for each polythene bag. A shopping mall has reportedly written to the BMC stating that the polythene they are using conforms to the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rule, 2011. A few shopping malls have been providing cloth bags, but are charging them too.