Sidewalks kick in, but straw curry bowls, sup went nowhere | Gurgaon News
GURUGRAM: Roadside restaurants served sabzi, plastic spoons were easily at hand to enjoy a lunch of paranthas and raita, straws and glasses spilled from bins near juice vendors and shops freely dispensed plastic bags to customers – all on Day 1 of the ban on 19 single-use plastics (SUPs).
On Friday, it became illegal for anyone in the country to manufacture, import, store, distribute or sell 19 SUP items under the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021. But on GurugramSUPs were widely available, from roadside fast food restaurants to vendors selling the wares in large and small markets.
Many vendors selling freshly squeezed juices, coconut water and ‘thelas’ serving meals to dozens of people said they had no other alternative to plastic cutlery for produce wet.
“Even if I stop using plastic bags, I cannot replace plastic cutlery. Hundreds of workers and attendants from major showrooms come here for lunch. I can offer them chapattis and rice on paper plates, but how can I serve curry and chaanch (buttermilk) on paper,” asked a roadside vendor in Jharsa Road. He said he opened the stand after losing his job at a garment factory during the first months of the pandemic.
Owners of bookstores, clothing stores, hardware stores and sweet shops have said they will stop handing out plastic bags when the government stops making SUPs.
“Okay, I will not provide plastic bags or even gift wrapping in plastic films. But what about items that come from manufacturers. All toys, clothing, service items such as bottles and tiffin boxes are wrapped in thin plastic films. Even the pens are wrapped in plastic. Why harass us when the whole supply chain uses plastic for packaging,” asked the owner of a bookstore and gift shop in Sadar Bazar.
A nearby tea stall vendor added, “I will be using clay cups from tomorrow. But what about packets of cigarettes? These are also prohibited. And the local cookies and crackers I offer with the tea are also wrapped in thin plastic wrap. The day the government ensures that these packets of cigarettes and tobacco pouches are not wrapped in plastic, we will ourselves ensure that no one in this whole market uses plastic,” he said. declared.
Prohibited SUPs include straws, bubble wrap, plastic wraps and coverings such as those on cigarette packs, plastic cutlery, disposable cups, decorative thermocollar, earbuds, etc.
A handful of vendors and traders who tried to switch to paper or cloth bags also complained on Friday that these were more expensive and customers were unwilling to pay. Some said customers insist on plastic bags because paper bags tend to fall apart.
“Cellophane wraps are lightweight and flowers stay fresh longer when wrapped in them. Paper packaging materials cost twice as much and have few takers. Today I offered a few customers to choose paper bouquets but they refused saying the rain would ruin the wrapper,” said a 23-year-old flower vendor near Government Girls College in the area. 14.
There was also palpable anger over the ban. Traders and union leaders have said the ban will be inflexible until substitutes can match plastic, either in characteristics or its cheap cost of supply.
“The only way to stop using SUPs is to hang around our necks… You can ask the grocery store not to use plastic bags, but can you ask them not to sell pulses wrapped in plastic,” said Bablu Gupta, head of Sadar Bazar Viapar Mandal.
“This is all just a big joke. People carry burlap sacks to buy milk packets, bread and crisps wrapped in plastic. No one will take it seriously unless a fundamental change is made from the top down and not the other way around,” he added.
Critics have also argued that most banned items are those produced and used by small and medium-sized industries. Plastics used by FMCGs and multinationals to package processed foods such as crisps and groceries are not affected by the law. On Friday, the MCG said it penalized 130 people and levied fines worth Rs 65,000 on the first day of the ban. Pollution control office officials also said they were working to crack down on illegal SUP manufacturing units and discourage SUP use.
“We have been campaigning for the SUP ban for six months. We have also carried out a detailed investigation but in Gurugram there are no SUP manufacturing units. We are vigilant about illegal installations, but until “At present, we have not come across any such establishment. MCG and MCM have been tasked with monitoring the markets to enforce the ban. It is also the responsibility of every citizen to ensure the effectiveness of the ban, so we call on all to raise awareness and refrain from using SUPs,” said Sandeep Singh, Regional Manager, Gurugram, HSPCB.