Bangalore bans thin film polythene bags

In an effort to protect the environment, Bangalore's municipal corporation, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), has banned the use of plastic bags of less than 40 micron thickness from today. Municipal commissioner Siddaiah said the BBMP would seize any plastic sold within its jurisdiction illegally.

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had set a deadline of 15 March for implementation of the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2009.

Siddaiah said the KSPCB technical staff would conduct random checks on sale of plastic bags and seize all plastic bags less than 40 micron thickness. "The KSPCB will enforce the rule, while BBMP will ensure that plastic is safely collected, segregated, transported and disposed," Siddaiah said.

Collection centres will be set up for plastic waste, and manufacturers of plastic items and recyclers of such waste will be involved in the collection process, so that there is no open burning of plastic. A campaign for spreading awareness of the harm that plastic can cause will be conducted for the benefit of all stakeholders, including those working in waste management and rag pickers.

"The BBMP would form a monitoring committee to implement the rules. The committee, comprising plastic manufacturers, retailers and market associations, will fix a minimum price for plastic bags, depending on quality and size," Siddaiah said. He said that the BBMP would set up dry waste collection centres in all the 198 wards of the city.
These would also serve as collection centres for plastic waste. An 'anti-plastic day' would be observed in schools and colleges, to spread awareness.

Earlier, some manufacturers of plastic bags had requested the BBMP and KSPCB to put off the deadline. KSPCB's chief environment officer, MDN Simha, said that the request could not be granted. "The KSPCB will have the authority to close the manufacturing unit, cut off its power supply and water connection, and even prosecute the manufacturer if rules are violated," said Simha.