The Kozhikode Corporation is planning to revive the enforcement of the State-wide ban on single use plastic in the city from June.
The ban, which came into effect in January 2020, was effectively enforced by the corporation before the pandemic hit. Health supervisor of the corporation P. Shajil Kumar said the ban would be enforced with added vigour this time.
“We had relaxed the norms in March 2020, as everyone was forced to stay home, and home delivery of food was essential. At the time, we were forced to use plastic containers and bags for packing food safely,” Mr. Shajil Kumar said. Even in the post-pandemic situation, officials did not resort to strict measures. But all that will change in less than a month, he added.
Mayor Beena Philip had convened a meeting of all stakeholders last week and had informed them that the ban would be reinforced. Officials of the corporation’s health wing cleared doubts of representatives of vendors, restaurateurs, and the chambers of commerce and even suggested alternatives for each product currently being used.
“There is no need for elaborate awareness programmes as we did the previous time, as most people are already aware of the ban. However, the vendors mentioned that they needed more time, which we cannot agree to, when our material collection facilities are overflowing with collected plastic,” Mr. Shajil Kumar said.
The corporation is mainly aiming at the carry bags, suggesting use of cloth bags or paper bags in place of plastic carry bags, irrespective of their thickness. The non-woven bags (polypropylene) also come under this category. The disposable plates can be replaced with steel or ceramic plates, while food grade paper cups are allowed, if they bear the Central Pollution Control Board registration and bar code printed on them. The biodegradable carry bags and plastic food containers have also been given a pass temporarily.
The health wing of the corporation has constituted a squad to conduct inspections in shops and establishments and seize the banned plastic products. The offenders will have to pay a hefty fine of ₹10,000, the first time and ₹.25,000 for repeated offences. A third offence is punished by a fine of ₹50,000 and a cancellation of trade licence.