Plastics ban: Mumbai locality's lessons for India

A Bombay municipal corporator shows the way in implementing ban on plastic bags

grvora

G R Vora | May 11, 2010


Now, residents caryy home vegetables only in paper bags
Now, residents caryy home vegetables only in paper bags

Last Saturday, I got the opportunity to observe the “Zero Plastic Bag” campaign at Vile Parle that I had only read about or seen in the print and electronic media.
 
The initiator of this revolution is the BMC’s Officer on Special Duty – Mr. Subhash Dalvi, who is himself a resident of Vile Parle. As a citizen he thought of bringing about a change first in his own backyard. Vile Parle East area is home to hundreds of hawkers who squat on the footpaths and even roads of Nehru Road, M G Road and Mungibai Roads.

Mr Subhash Dalvi and I took a round of these roads today between 6:30 – 8 pm. I was pleasantly surprised to see one hawker after another selling their goods (fruits, vegetables, sweets, spices, flowers etc.) wrapped in either paper bags or newspapers. Hardly any hawker gave a thin plastic “jhabla” bag.  Many of the hawkers had the BMC’s “No Plastic Bag” campaign leaflet displayed prominently at their “shops”.  Many had even kept cloth bags hands to be sold to customers who had not brought along their own bags to carry away the items.  The bags were priced between the range of Rs. 3 (for the simple cotton bag) to Rs. 20 (for thicker, water-proof and larger bag).

How could Mr Subhash Dalvi bring about this transformation ?  It was sheer hard work, fuelled by his dedication and care for the environment, he said.  Regularly, since the past one year, Mr Dalvi has interacted with the hawkers, understood their problems, their psychology, their micro-economics in using “Jhabla” bags so far, convenience of customers etc. He went about offering them alternatives like cheap paper bags, newspapers, butter-paper bags, washable and reusable cloth bags at cheap rates. Convincing them about the need to save our environment.  It was not a cake-walk, he confesses.  It was constant cajoling, convincing, building relationships, his own honesty and moral pressure which he exerted upon the hawkers and shop keepers that he could achieve whatever he did.  

Now we find even the Grade II hotels in the vicinity using paper bags for giving food “parcels”.  He knows most of the hawkers, shop keeper and hotel owners by their first names.  All have respect for him and are happy that they are using alternative means of packaging their goods while selling.  One chilli-ginger seller has even bought a “Tempo” for buying and selling his vegetables from the money that he has saved by changing over from buying plastic bags and using paper bags.  Amazing. !

My best wishes to Mr Subhash Dalvi. I hope Mr Dalvi gets all the support from his superiors in the Corporation, the hawkers and the residents to fulfill his dream of having “Zero Plastic Bags” in Mumbai by the year 2012.

 

Comments

 

Other News

On a personal note: Javed Jaffrey

After his much-appreciated debut in Meri Jung in 1985, Javed Jaffrey inspired a new generation of dancers. He then turned from dance to comedy. The versatile actor constantly changes his styles and his live, film, TV and radio appearances always promise novelty and surprise. In 2014 he joined the Aam A

Allegations against CJI: Inquiry will strengthen the independence of the judiciary

Yes, we must stand rock solid with the judiciary and the judges. We must protect the independence of the judiciary too. What does this mean in the present context of a very serious charge of sexual harassment levelled by a former employee of the court against the CJI?  We are told that there is a larg

“Managing data is challenging”

The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) is a society set up by the railways ministry in July 1986 to provide IT related services to the Indian Railways. CRIS deals in a gamut of functions, like passenger ticketing, freight operations, train dispatching and control, crew management, e-procurement,

A boost to those who need it most

What are 600 million people? Almost twice the population of the US. What are 500 million people? About three-fourth of the population of Europe. Why are we talking about these numbers? Well, because as per a study by Sandhya Krishnan and Neeraj Hatekar (‘Rise of New Middle Class in India and Its

Expanding Eureka!

Abright yellow van with figures of children playing with a whirligig, a Newton’s cradle, a magnetic compass rolls into the Government Higher Primary School in Kittaganahalli, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Students in the playground leave what they are doing and mill about it in excitement. For they

The spark in the classroom

Not many children dream of starting an idyllic school of their own when they grow up. But Ramji Raghavan, founder of the Agastya International Foundation – which fosters the creative learning of science in stude



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter