Feb 29, 2012 at 12:12pm IST

Bio-degradable bags:Traders cringe at price

BHUBANESWAR: Inviting flak for the highly priced bio-degradable polythene bags that Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation intends to introduce in place of polythene, the authorities have decided to reduce the price to increase market acceptance.  BMC conducted a meeting where businessmen, hoteliers, shop owners and vendors were invited to discuss the pro and cons of the polythene ban. Though the Central Pollution Control Board has permitted a Chennai- based company to provide the alternative bio-degradable plastic bags that measure above 40 microns, it has drawn sharp criticism as each one is priced at ` 4.
 “A customer will never buy potato at ` 7 a kg and pay extra ` 4 for the bio plastic bag,” said a shop owner. Though the company’s officials said that once the product is introduced in the market, the prices will come down automatically, the shop owners were not convinced.
 Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena asked all the parties concerned to work out a minimum price acceptable to all. BMC is the final authority that will decide the minimum price for the bio-plastic bags. Even though they do not have BMC permission, malls are  charging for polythene bags which are not bio-degradable.
 In the next 15 days, BMC officials will create awareness on polythene ban, BMC deputy commissioner KP Pati said. The ban will be effective after 15 days. “Everyone is not bound to buy the bio plastic bags, but the shopkeepers will have to use plastic bags that conforms to the norms,” said Jena. One of the participants suggested that the customers use their own cotton bags for shopping purposes.
 The legal action will be taken against the defaulters as per the rules. BMC will  write letters to the Police Department to co-ordinate. “We will encourage the use of cotton and paper bags. Ultimately, it is the individuals who have to decide how to keep the city clean and green,” said Jena.