Plastic use from June 23 will attract fine of Rs 5,000

Representative image
Representative image
PUNE: People, including retailers, will be penalized for carrying banned plastic material from June 23 — Rs 5,000 on the first occasion and Rs 10,000 the second time. Third-time offenders will be prosecuted.

Suresh Jagtap, head of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)’s solid waste management department, told TOI, “Citizens got an exemption of three months from the ban from the high court. From June 23, the ban will be implemented if the court order on June 22 does not bring in any changes. Besides imposing penalty on people possessing the banned items, we will undertake search operations to check from where the plastic is coming into the garbage bins.”

The civic body will deploy a team of 120 inspectors in all its wards to check the use of plastic from June 23. Officials stated that citizens or NGOs could inform PMC about the use of plastic in their areas, after which it would send inspectors to the spot to fine the defaulters.

Jagtap said though PMC was not authorized to conduct searches in houses of citizens, their inspectors would conduct raids in the city’s markets to seal banned plastic items. The defaulters would be penalized subsequently, and a challan would be issued.

“Establishments like retail shops, clubs, cinemas, theatres, marriage halls, restaurants and malls among others would be under the scanner. Though the retailers and other people were expected to hand over the banned plastic items to the civic body for scientific disposal or recycling. But we have received just around six tonnes of the banned products so far. The rest are expected to be sealed during inspections,” he said.

He said NGOs, environment groups, mohalla committees and citizens in favour of the ban were roped in to help the civic body in the implementation of the ban.

Jagtap said, “If anybody sees someone using a banned item, he/she can call the PMC’s toll-free number to notify it.”

On March 23, the Maharashtra government banned the manufacture, sale and use of plastic bags, disposable plastic spoons, forks, cups, glasses, containers, PET bottles of less than 500ml and thermocol for decoration through a notification. The ban was brought under the Maharashtra Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, enacted in 2006.

On April 11, it modified the rules and allowed PET bottles of all capacity “made of high quality food grade virgin Bisphenol-A free material” with a pre-defined buyback policy printed on it. In April, the high court had refused to stay the ban but asked the state not to launch prosecution against individual persons for three months. The plastic ban is, therefore, slated for enforcement from June 23.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has issued a notification to the manufacturers saying that the recycling and buyback prices should be prominently printed on PET/PETE bottles and plastic bags permissible under the ban. “However, manufacturers are still awaiting the high court order on June 22, after which their next plan of action would be clear,” an MPCB official said.

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