Mumbai plastic ban: BMC collects 1,42,000 kg plastic; has no recycling mechanism

Mumbai plastic ban: BMC collects 1,42,000 kg plastic; has no recycling mechanism

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had announced a plastic ban across Mumbai from March 23 and the Bombay High Court had granted it time till June 23 to implement it. Accordingly, BMC took relevant steps to curtail widespread usage of plastic in the city and crack a whip on the defaulting citizens. So far, they have collected 1.42 lakh kg of banned plastic from households, shops and offices. However, the BMC has not been able to put a recycling mechanism for the tonnes of confiscated plastic goods.

As reported by the Hindustan Times, prior to implementation of the plastic ban, the BMC had only 36 plastic segregation centres. Post announcement of plastic ban the civic body had set up 24 new plastic collection bins. Despite, ample measures taken for collecting plastic waste, BMC have failed to build a recycling process. Tonnes of plastic waste is collected in BMC plastic bins and rest, private organisations are collecting through rag pickers.

Kiran Dighavkar, nodal officer, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan told HT, “We have contacted a couple of recyclers who are registered with Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). There are two in Bhiwandi, however none in Mumbai. We are still looking out on details how to recycle the collected plastic waste.”

Out of 1.42 lakh kg of plastic collected from the city, 30,460 kg of plastic was discarded from Bandra (west) area. BMC has issued a helpline: 1800-222-357 to get plastic collected by June 23. To further spread awareness about the collection drive, the civic authority is organising a plastic alternative exhibition from June 22 – June 24 at National Sports Club of India, Worli. The stalls at the exhibition will display alternative for plastic, plastic recyclers and bottle crushers. Citizens and companies who are interested in putting up stalls at the exhibition can contact the authorities via emails.

The three months leeway given to citizens was to get rid of plastic items which are commonly used in households, to gradually move toward environmental friendly materials. The banned items includes all kinds of plastic bags disposable culinary items made up of plastic and thermocol such as plates, glasses, forks, spoons and bowls.

This year on the World Environment Day- June 5, the United Nations environment head Erik Solheim believes that only India can help itself when it comes to “Beat Plastic Pollution”. India and China are two top contributors on plastic pollution. Indian produces over 62 million tonnes of solid waste every year, of which 43 million tonnes is collected and only 12 million tonnes is dumped and recycled.  About 25,000 tonnes of plastic is generated every year by India, out of which only 60 percent is recycled, Harsh Vardhan, environment minister, said.