Pune: After an initial decline in plastic waste generation in March and June, Pune has again been witnessing large-scale plastic waste disposal by its citizens. The evidence is found strewn along the city’s roads and dumped in open spaces.
Confusion and fear are to be blamed.
While people are confused about what to do with the plastic still in their homes, they are also scared of being penalised for the same. Many are, therefore, sumping their leftover plastic along the roads under the cover of night.
Satish Khot, of the National Society for Clean Cities, held the official machinery accountable. “The urban local body has failed to give proper clarifications to people and even the state government has not provided clear guidelines. People just do not know what to do. Any idea must be well thought out before it is implemented. This policy was not and is leading to confusion,” he said.
Maithili Manakawad, of the Wanowrie Residents’ Forum, said it might take some time for the confusion to clear. “Plastic waste is now making its way out of homes and, therefore, we are seeing more plastic items dumped on the streets. I would give it another 15 to 20 days for the confusion among people to clear,” she said.
Sanjeev Kumar Patil, of the Wagholi Housing Societies’ Association, said he had noticed an increase in the plastic waste on the roads around Wagholi. “Plastic bags, containers and bottles can be seen strewn everywhere. The gram panchayat is now taking an initiative. It has started spreading awareness for a plastic-free Wagholi,” he said.
“While we do not have statistical evidence on plastic waste generation in the city since June 23, we do have anecdotal evidence that citizens are disposing of their leftover plastic. We have waste-pickers telling us that citizens are giving away plastics willingly,” said Harshad Barde, a representative from waste-pickers’ cooperative, solid waste collection and handling (SWaCH). The cooperative has launched a survey to collect data on plastic waste generation from a sample of 100 waste-pickers.
Sanitary inspector from Ghole Road ward office Imamuddin Inamdar said, “We have told people to hand over their plastic waste to the waste-pickers or deposit the same at the collection centres. People are coming in large numbers to voluntarily give away their plastic goods. At the Ghole Road ward office, we have sent a truckload of plastic for recycling.”
Meanwhile, Suresh Jagtap, the head of Pune Municipal Corporation’s solid waste management department, added, that while a deadline of June 23 was set to dispose of all plastics at home, all ward offices, as well as PMC plastic collection centres, are still accepting plastic waste from citizens. “The ward offices will keep collecting plastics for the coming few days. If the government exemptions are finalised, we will continue the collection so that people can dispose of the new plastics that they may obtain from shopkeepers,” he said.