New Delhi: A day after the ban on single-use plastic came into effect in Kerala, officials from the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation were moving from shop to shop warning that no attempt should be made to use plastic carry bags. It was on November 21, 2019 that the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government came out with an order that from January 1, 2020, only recyclable plastic material will be allowed to be used in the state. Murmurs and anger were witnessed across the board at shops from customers and shopkeepers.
The new directive however, decided to exempt two state-owned enterprises — Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (MILMA) and Kerala State Beverages Corporation — the sole wholesalers of liquor and beer in the state. Both companies have been directed by the government to buy back the plastic bottles.
Hitherto, plastic carry bags up to a certain grade were allowed to be used. But now onwards, only recyclable plastic materials and bottles will be allowed. An angry meat stall owner in the capital city told IANS, “This morning the first person who came to our shop was an official who warned that no more plastic carry bags should be used.”
If it’s done, then starting with a fine, subsequent penalties if caught would be higher and if repeated again would even see the cancellation of the shop licence. I do not know what’s happening, in yesteryears, meat was packed in big leaves of a particular plant and today that plant is nowhere to be seen. Packing meat in a newspaper, is not easy. We are at a loss on what to do, said the peeved meat shop owner, who did not wish to be identified.
But the authorities pointed out that at the moment they are only on an awareness drive to educate people and coax them to move away from plastic carry bags.
This is because the Kerala High Court has directed that till January 15, no action should be taken against those who violate the plastic ban.
The fines that have been announced include Rs 10,000 for the first violation, Rs 25,000 the next time and then it would be Rs 50,000 and cancellation of licence.
People at a crowded vegetable shop near Kottayam on Thursday (January 2) also were busy discussing the plastic ban. The shop owner said,
It’s not easy to pack vegetables in newspapers as it’s time consuming and difficult. Since the law is out, we have to abide by it. Also paper bags are not good, leaving bags made out of clothes the only option, but that’s going to be expensive. Since the past one week, we have been telling all our regular customers to come with their own bags and some have started doing that.