The state government has come in for sharp criticism from village panchayats for failing to do enough in tackling the plastic menace.
Plastic bags below 40 micron thickness are easily available despite the government announcing ban on such plastic bags.
While these plastic bags continuing to ‘freely flow’ into the commercial capital, rural Salcete continues to battle the plastic in its own backyard with the ban on it being enforced.
The government had announced a ban on units producing plastic below 40 micron thickness in the recently concluded Assembly session.
Margao Municipal Council had also banned the use of plastic below 40 micron thickness nearly a year back but the drive against the plastic lost its steam as the traders returned with the plastic bags with ‘lower micron’ thickness.
Chandor sarpanch Edward D’Silva said,”In Margao, there is plastic below 40 micron in every nook and corner be it for bread or for fish, while back in Chandor the panchayat has completely banned the use of plastic in shops.”
“We face the brunt of the people who question us on such double standards when plastic is available in Margao and other villages,” he said.
He said that “the panchayats are pushed to ban plastic and tackle the garbage issue but the government itself is not doing enough to ensure that the plastic flow is stopped at the source,” and added that if the civic bodies which have the manpower cannot enforce the ban on plastic what the village panchayats are supposed to do when they have no manpower.
“Yet we have the willingness to keep the villages clean,” he added.
Another sarpanch, who requested not to be named said that the government has never been serious in resolving the garbage issue.
“Had the government been serious in tackling the issue, flow of plastic would have been stopped at the source, but it is not happening and as such the plastic is available easily and hence the ban in the village is proving ineffective. We had sent letters to every business establishment not to use plastic but when the plastic itself is easily available, enforcing the ban becomes ineffective,” he added.
Another sarpanch said, “We were all looking up to the Margao Municipal Council as a role model on ban on plastic below 40 micron thickness and they had started with a great zeal raiding traders and penalising them, however, their drive lost steam and even if we ban plastic in our villages, the plastic which is easily available in Margao will find its way to the villages.”