Thursday, May 6

Bye bye banned plastic: Green change with cloth and jute bags

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From plastic packets to proper bags — the change in behaviour among a majority of shoppers at various markets on Wednesday morning raised hopes of an end to the polybag menace, despite the state government and Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s reluctance to penalise violators in this festive season.

People turned up with nylon, cloth and jute bags to shop in local markets. Those who did not carry bags, felt apologetic.

Vendors too followed rules as they either refused plastic bags or handed out legal ones beyond 50 microns.

According to a KMC market department official, barring exceptions, shopkeepers in major municipal markets adhered to the plastic-ban rules. “Some regular customers did pressurise vegetable and fish vendors to provide plastic bags. But it is good to see the greater number of people who complied with the ban. To comply with the change to avoid the fear of penalty is extremely encouraging. It shows that there is high awareness about the evils of single-use plastic as well as a desire among people to change their behaviour to stop the plastic menace,” the official said.

TOI teams visited various markets in Kolkata and Salt Lake and found shopkeepers reluctant to oblige buyers with plastic carry bags. And those who did otherwise had a word of caution: “Please bring paper bags or jute bags in future.” Many buyers had come prepared for shopping. For instance Santanu Dasgupta, a central government employee, brought jute bags to shop at Gariahat market. Dasgupta welcomed the ban on plastic carry bags and vowed to abide by rules. “I will never use plastic bags that cause so much harm to the environment,” Dasgupta said.

There were others who felt ashamed of not remembering to bring eco-friendly bags. Alpana Sadhukhan, a resident of Ballygunge, had to plead with a vegetable seller at Gariahat market to provide her a carry bag. “I am really embarrassed. Henceforth, I will definitely ensure that I don’t make such mistake,” she said.

Similar scenes were witnessed at Maniktala market and BD Market in Salt Lake. At Maniktala market, a majority of the shoppers brought their own bags. Tripathi Das, a resident of Goabagan, was carrying paper bags. Das said he was always in favour of enforcing a strict ban on plastic carry bags. Hence, the ban gave him a scope to buy designer jute or paper bags and carry them to markets.

“I am happy that finally the ban has been announced. Now, I want penalty to be imposed on the errant shoppers and shopkeepers as well,” Das said.

Fish and vegetable sellers at Maniktala market said they needed a couple of days to adhere to the plastic ban rules completely. At BD market in Salt Lake, most shoppers and shopkeepers were seen keen on extending a helping hand to Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation in its endeavour to ban plastic carry bags.


Source: Times of India

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