With the single-use plastic ban coming into force on Friday, ‘no plastic’ posters were seen outside shops in Delhi’s major markets, including Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar and Palika Bazaar, and most traders urged people to use alternatives.
A few traders were, however, seen hesitantly selling items in polythene bags as “they still have some stock left”, while bodies of traders circled the Sarojini Nagar market at regular intervals to ensure that the protocol was respected.
Most customers were seen without the Sarojini Nagar white polythene bag, but polythene bags were lying on the roads and roadside restaurants were still serving food in plastic plates, spoons and forks.
Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai said the city government will issue warnings to units found in violation of the ban on 19 single-use plastic (SUP) items until July 10, and that punitive measures will subsequently be taken against repeat offenders.
Shops in Sarojini Nagar market had displayed laminated posters saying “It’s time to say no to plastic – Good up to one lakh”.
“We put up posters and distributed flyers. In the morning, we sent WhatsApp messages to all traders not to use single-use plastic. We also do market tours,” said said Ashok Randhawa, the president of Sarojini Nagar Mini. Market Traders Association.
Randhawa said most stores are following the protocols. Asked about restaurants still using plastic items, Randhawa said, “We’re trying to convince them.”
At the Palika Bazaar, traders were seen refusing to provide plastic bags to customers. “Many customers didn’t buy items because they didn’t have carrier bags. It’s not good for business but there’s nothing we can do about it,” one shopkeeper said.
On August 12 last year, the Union Ministry of Environment issued a notification prohibiting the manufacture, import, storage, distribution, sale and use of identified SUP products, including including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, from July 1, 2022.
At the Lajpat Nagar market, traders claimed that they had not used single-use plastic for a long time.
“We have been using garment bags for a long time. However, some customers prefer to carry items in a polythene bag rather than a cloth or paper bag. We have also stopped using other items such as plastic glasses and straws,” said one trader.
Ashwani Marwah, general secretary of the Lajpat Nagar Traders Association, said traders had stopped buying banned items and tried to finish the stock by June 30.
“Only the stores that are left with the stock could sell or use it. However, the majority of them have stopped using the SUP,” Marwah said.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had earlier issued strict instructions to manufacturers, dealers, suppliers and distributors of SUP items to ensure zero inventory of banned products including packaging films and plastic cutlery. plastic, by June 30.
(With PTI inputs)