BBMP, which has been focusing on containing the spread of COVID-19, has not been able to crack down on use of plastic
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, single-use, low-value plastic has made a comeback much to the dismay of activists and solid waste management experts. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which has diverted resources to contain the spread of COVID-19 and allied activities, has not been able to crack down on the rampant use of low-value plastic.
Sandya Narayanan, member of Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT), pointed out that while there was no change in the retail sector, where eco-friendly options continue to be in use, usage has increased in smaller hotels, tea shops, and among street and pushcart vendors. “This section has always been difficult to control. Apart from thin plastic carry bags, used masks and gloves are posing another challenge,” she said.
G. Nagaraj, founder of Indian Ploggers Army, said that disposable paper and plastic cups, tissues, gloves and masks are routinely found in black spots. While group plogging activities have not been taken up for the past two months, the city’s 50-odd active ploggers continue the activity individually in their respective areas, he said.
The lockdown has also impacted those managing Bengaluru’s 120-odd Dry Waste Collection Centres (DWCCs), where low-value plastic is piling up. The situation is compounded by the fact that all recycling and processing industries are currently shut.
The Karnataka government recently constituted a State-level special task force to prepare a comprehensive action plan for the elimination of single-use plastic and implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. In Bengaluru, a task force will be set up under the BBMP Chief Commissioner.
But for now, COVID-19 is the civic body’s priority. The BBMP is hoping to crack down on plastic users once the pandemic eases. BBMP Joint Commissioner (SWM) Sarfaraz Khan said that much of the low-value plastic that is found in the city comes from other States. “Earlier, there were regular checks at the commercial tax check posts on the city’s outskirts. Now, this has completely stopped,” he said, and admitted that enforcement had been put on the backburner for now.
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