In the quest to clean-up the financial capital of the country, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), seized approximately 255 kg of plastic and amassed Rs 3,90,000 in fine on the fourth day of its plastic ban. Mumbai?became the first city in the country to execute plastic ban and has so far collected about Rs 10 lakh in fines, according to multiple reports. It is pertinent to note that the majority of Indian states have full or partial ban on single-use plastic; however, the diktat is scarcely enforced.
On June 23rd, the BMC implemented the ban on manufacture, use, sale, and distribution of all plastic materials like plastic bags, spoons, plates, bottles, and thermocol items. Notification for the same had already been issued by the Maharashtra government on March 23rd, which was subsequently deemed "reasonable" by the Bombay High Court on April 13th.
A team constituted by the BMC, as reported by the Financial Express, examined 5,440 stores across the city. Around 94 shops were found to be in possession of banned plastic; out of which 78 were fined, while 16 declined to pay the fine. Burger King, McDonald's, and Starbucks, were among the establishments that were fined.
For first time offenders, a fine of Rs 5,000 has been proposed. Rs 10,000 is to be paid for violating the ban for the second time, whereas, a third contravention will attract Rs 25,000 fine along with a three month jail term. The BMC has trained 210 staffers for levying penalties. Upon failure to pay the fine, the BMC may lodge a complaint before the appropriate court. A list containing details of collection centres, where people can dispose plastic items, is available on the BMCs official website.
Not everyone, however, hailed the government's move. The Retailer's Association in Mumbai, has urged the government to defer the ban till the end of monsoons and allow buyback on plastic materials already purchased, or they may be impelled to go on a strike against the plastic ban.
Viren Shah, President of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, while interacting with the Mumbai Mirror, indicated that 3,00,000 small businesses in the city had seen around 50% drop in sales since the ban. Additionally, there exists confusion over which plastic is allowed, and which is not.