Maharashtra plastic ban threatens meat vendors, vegetable sellers and small retailers in Mumbai

For busy Mumbaikars, Sunday is the day in the week to replenish household resources, stock up on vegetables, meat and groceries. But can you bring home chicken, fish or mutton from the vendor in a plastic ban as you usually do? Not sure, right?
That’s the question most of Mumbai is curious about as the plastic ban is in full effect in the state from Saturday, June 23.
Despite Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) efforts to educate people about the alternatives for plastics, confusion and uncertainties about substitutes looms large over Mumbaikars heads. Even as all quarters lauded the Maharashtra government’s ban, small-time retailers, meat and vegetable vendors are mostly affected.

“I don’t know how to pack mutton in a paper bag. Some people brought in steel dabbas while some carried the paper bag. Our men could do nothing but laugh. But on a serious note, what are people like us supposed to do?” Shahid Ansari, a resident of Versova, posed the question when Mirror visited his shop this morning.

Going forward, Ansari is planning to stop home deliveries. “My business is going to suffer. But this way of supplying meat is not cost effective to us. Eventually, we’d have to raise the prices. Either way, I am going to lose customers.”
He sells 50 to 60 kgs of meat on a busy Sunday, out of which 30 per cent is for home deliveries, he claimed.

The lack of viable alternatives for a plastic carry bag not only haunted meat and vegetable vendors, but housewives and their domestic helps too. Jyoti Sakhare, a househelp, told us, “My madam asked me to fetch fish from the market. What should I carry to the shop? A box or a carry bag?”
Sakhare, who carried a steel box, is scared of being penalized if caught with a plastic bag. “The fluids from food emanates into the brown paper bag. The smell is foul,” she added.

Some chicken sellers used newspapers or brown paper bags. Eggs were sold in brown paper bags, which cost 75 paise to Re 1 each, and retailers are finding this expensive.
The plastic manufacturing industry claimed that the ban will result in loss of up to Rs 15,000 crore and nearly 3 lakh job.
“The ban imposed by Maharashtra from Saturday has hit the industry very hard and the plastic industry is staring at a loss of Rs 15,000 crore, leaving nearly 3 lakh people jobless overnight,” Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India general secretary Neemit Punamiya told PTI.
“Nearly 2,500 members of the association are left with no option but to shut shop following the ban,” he added and termed the ban as “discriminatory”.
The BMC today cracked down on 617 shops and collected a fine of Rs 1.9 lakh (till 2pm), and seized 485.55kg plastic in Kandivali East area.
On March 23, the state announced a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as one-time-use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items. The government had given three-months time to dispose of the existing stocks, which ended on June 23.
Over a dozen restaurants and retail outlets at High Street Phoenix mall in Lower Parel were fined Rs 5,000 each. These included, among others, a leading fast-food chain, a sweet shop whose a

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