ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರ ಜೀವನವೂ ಒಂದು ಪುಸ್ತಕದಂತೆ. ಪ್ರತಿದಿನವೂ ಕಥೆ ಬೆಳೆಯುತ್ತದೆ, ಪುಟಗಳೂ, ಅಧ್ಯಾಯಗಳೂ ಸೇರ್ಪಡೆಗೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಲೇ ಹೋಗುತ್ತವೆ. ಆದರೆ ಪರರು ಓದಲೆಂದು ಇಡೀ ಪುಸ್ತಕವನ್ನು ಯಾರೂ ತೆರೆದಿಡುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ನಾನೂ ಕೂಡ ಇದಕ್ಕೆ ಹೊರತಾಗಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ತೆರೆದ ಕೆಲವು ಪುಟಗಳು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಮುಂದಿವೆ.
They say, life is like a book. Each day pages, chapters keep getting added. But no one keeps the entire book open for everyone to read. I am not an exception either. Here are the open pages for you.
ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಿ - Krishna Shastry
ಪ್ರಾಣಿ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳು, ಶುದ್ಧ ಸಸ್ಯಾಹಾರ, ಪರಿಸರ, ಆರೋಗ್ಯ ಇವೆಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ವೀಗನಿಸಂ ಎಂಬ ತತ್ವದಲ್ಲಿ ನಂಬಿಕೆ ಇಟ್ಟಿರುವ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸರಳ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ ನಾನು.
ನನ್ನ ಇತರ ಆಸಕ್ತಿಗಳೆಂದರೆ ನೀತಿಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ನೀತಿಸಂಹಿತೆಗಳು, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ, ಆವಿಷ್ಕಾರಗಳು, ವಿಜ್ಞಾನ, ಕನ್ನಡ ಭಾಷೆ, ಭಾಷಾನೀತಿಗಳು ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ.
I am a simple Kannadiga following veganism, that cares about animal rights, pure vegetarianism, environment and health.
My other interest include ethics, public healthcare, public policies, innovation, science & technology, Kannada language and linguistic policies.
Generally most news papers put such headings in their news items. But when you read it further, you get disappointed/relieved (depending on who you are!!) that the ban is only on plastic carry bags below certain micron thickness. Complete ban is almost nonexistent.
In this article I am taking Ahmedabad as the example to explain current state of affairs on this subject. However, this is applicable for many other regions in India too.
What is the law/rule?
In Feb 2011 Indian Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has notified that no carry bags shall be made available to consumers for free & has also banned carry bags below 40 micron thickness.
How many local administration authorities have tried implementing this rule?
Ahmedabad Municipality is one of the few administrative bodies who have tried to implement in real sense. Recently i.e. in Jan 2012 Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has intensified its war against plastic bags by increasing minimum price for carry bags (Small: Rs.2, Medium: Rs.5, Jumbo: Rs.10). Moreover, they have announced various kinds of fines and actions against violators (producers/distributors/vendors).
How is the actual implementation?
There are some news items that give some idea about continued efforts from AMC in cracking down the violators. However, let’s see what the ground level reality is.
Here are some facts and my experiences based on interactions with several small scale vendors in Ahmedabad.
Who follows the rule?
Large Scale Retailers
·Some large scale retailers don’t want to take risk and get bad publicity; they generally comply pretty quickly
·Large scale retailers follow both rules i.e. the thickness rule as well as charging customers clause
Customers of Large Scale Retailers
·Most customers, especially when they go to grocery stores (ex: Reliance Fresh), they now carry their own bags so as to escape the charge on plastic bags from the store
Who doesn’t follow the rule?
Small Scale Retailers
·Plastic bags below 40 micron thickness are still in circulation widely in case of small scale retailers/vendors
Customers of Small Scale Retailers
·Customers are pretty demanding and they bargain too much
·Even if some vendor keeps the 40 micron plastic bags /bio-degradable bags, customers insist that vendor should absorb the cost (even the customers who keep quiet in big retailer shops where they don’t have bargaining power)
Must Read: Statements by Small Scale Vendors
I have talked to several small scale vendors, including small grocery store workers, vegetable and fruit vendors. And here are some interesting statements by them:
1.There is no way we can implement from our end in collective fashion; if I alone try to implement and stop giving cheaper bags, my business gets severely affected, because customer simply walks to another cart to buy vegetables. What can I do?
2.You don’t know my customers; if the total bill is Rs.21/- they insist on paying only Rs.20/- So, how can I charge one more rupee for a plastic bag? (Response when I suggested: why don’t you keep good quality ones and at least try to sell them to rich people who come in cars)
3.The checking authorities come, seize and take away the low quality bags with them; but with us they show some mercy and give it back too sometimes (a vegetable vendor). But they do put fine or 200 or 300 rupees on them (pointing at another roadside vendor selling meat/fish)
4.Sir, do you really think the fine collected indeed goes to the government? I think that sometimes the receipts are fake and money goes to their own pocket! (Response when asked their opinion about fine on vendors by checking authorities)
5.Brother, not that we don't care about the environment, but the trend will change only if production is stopped. (This is reiterated by every single one of them)
What is the status of production?
Based on above, the bigger question is how small scale vendors are still able to get cheap plastic bags and why the production hasn't stopped yet. Or is it that production is happening elsewhere and simply gets supplied to this place?
I haven’t done enough research on this yet, due to lack of information sources. I am sending this blog article to a person in AMC; if I get a response I will add more details.
Last Word – Amul and Carry Bags
Major milk vendor in Ahmedabad is Amul; they have taken a strong stand long back (don’t know exactly when). They don’t provide carry bags at all; forget about plastic ones, they don’t give bio-degradable bags or cloth bags or any other kind of eco-friendly bags. And people have changed their habits accordingly and adapted to their policy. Yeah, it might be that they have very less competition and people have fewer choices. But the fact remains that they did it.
How is the situation in your place?
Are you a customer? Do you carry your own bags for shopping?
Are you a vendor? Are you promoting eco-friendly shopping in any way?
Please share your viewpoints, experiences, feedback on this, even if it is entirely opposite to my views :-)