Confusion, deception, anger & losses on Day 1 of plastic ban

MUMBAI: Citizens, retailers and small vendors faced extreme discomfort on the first day of the statewide ban on singleuse plastic in Maharashtra.
Business was affected as traders downed shutters in certain localities, restaurateurs halted home delivery of liquid items, and waited, along with milk and meat, fish vendors, for customers to turn up with vessels, and most passed on the cost of paper and cloth bags. Although the BMC had said no punitive action would be taken till Monday, 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 attendants wore plastic gloves, ashoe store, a coffee shop and clothiers.
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The raids were underway well into the night with 18-20 inspectors entering each shop. While officials said action against the common man will start from Monday, deputy municipal commissioner (special) Nidhi Choudhary said, “We acted against the big outlets from Saturday to send out a strong message that everyone must follow the law or face action.”
The Thane civic body seized nearly 2,500kg of prohibited plastic and thermocol items. As many as 100 traders, including vegetable vendors and hawkers, were penalized. Till late evening, the team had recovered nearly Rs 95,000 in penalty. Business fell drastically as scarcely any buyers arrived with vessels, and home delivery in cloth or paper bags proved unviable. Some meat vendors continued to use plastic bags but camouflaged them in newspapers.