“Biodegradable plastic bags” under the scanner

Biodegradable plastic bags

BMC has issued a directive asking its officials to act against those using banned plastic bags on the false pretext that these are biodegradable and hence, allowed by the government. The directive follows an alert issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which is under the purview of the Union environment ministry, that the lie is being perpetuated by 12 companies in different part of the country, including in Mumbai.

Civic officials said action is regularly taken against people violating the plastic ban, but some companies have been getting away by misleading shopkeepers into believing that plastic bags being sold to them are certified by the pollution control board. Such manufacturers in fact stamp the plastic carry bags they produce with a seal of certification declaring their ‘biodegradable’ status, said an officer. The CPCB’s notification stated that the board had not authorized any of the 12 companies to use such a certificate.

In November, TOI reported that while BMC had taken initiatives to enforce the plastic ban, a new variety of plastic bags had entered the market. It was found that several shops and even vegetable vendors across the city were handing out thick plastic bags without handles to customers. Many were claiming that such bags were allowed despite the plastic ban. It turned out that they were merely misusing a loophole in the law: an exemption for using plastics bags without handle for retail packaging. Now, after the pollution control board’s notice, BMC has decided to intensify its slow-moving drive, targeting those who are using such carry bags.

Assistant municipal commissioner Kiran Dighavkar, the nodal officer for creating awareness about the plastic ban, said BMC has started acting against manufacturers of banned plastic under false claims.

Source: The Times of India

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