With the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) announcing to make the city plastic-free from October 2, around 25-30 per cent of the vendors in the Panaji municipal market have already switched over to the biodegradable cloth bags.
However, fish, mutton, fruit and vegetable vendors continue to use plastic bags.
A bangle seller Shahid Shaikh said that even though the use of biodegradable bags affects the profits of many vendors, they have no option rather than to follow the order of the Corporation.
A couple of years back, the CCP had been recommending to the vendors to use plastic bags above 50 microns as per the Supreme Court order but has now suddenly arrived at a decision to completely ban the use of plastic bags from October 2 without
providing any alternative to the vendors.
It is to be seen whether the use of plastic bags will be completely eliminated after October 2 or whether the vendors will wait for the CCP to impose heavy fines for violating the order, as almost everything available in the market is found to be wrapped and sold in plastic.
Mahesh Amonkar, who deals in grocery items, while welcoming the step taken by the CCP, advocated that checking for plastic at the state’s borders would help in eliminating plastic in a better way. He said despite awareness being created on the harmful effects of plastic, people keep throwing garbage wrapped in plastic bags onto the roads.
Another vendor Rehana Shaikh said that people should cooperate and coordinate with the CCP to make the mission a success. She said, “We can strengthen the government’s hands only by creating awareness amongst the customers to use cloth bags instead of plastic bags.”
Danish, who deals in readymade garments, believes that although cloth bags are a little costly and make a dent into our profits, the vendors cannot escape from the government order.