With the aim of reducing the city’s dependence on plastic, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is proposing to bring plastic food containers used by restaurants and eateries under the ambit of the ban. Food containers are currently exempt from the ban.
The hazard of non-biodegradable and single-use plastic containers to the environment is not the only cause for concern. A senior BBMP official told The Hindu , “Hot food is often packed in plastic containers. There is a danger of toxic chemicals leaching into the food. It is a public health hazard.”
The civic body’s public health department is building a case against the use of plastic food containers. The BBMP would be citing studies and papers presented in scientific journals in its representation to the government.
BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) D. Randeep said, “The BBMP has been promoting the use of reusables and recyclable containers. Plastic food containers are viewed as single-use disposables.”
The proposal to include these containers in the plastic ban will be made before the Plastics Review Committee, headed by the Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department.
“Apart from being a public health hazard, they also pose a problem with regard to waste disposal. Ideally, we expect eateries / restaurants and food-delivery apps to change their approach in their use of plastic. They can look at long-term solutions,” Mr. Randeep added.
Waste management experts have commended the BBMP’s proposal. They pointed out that plastic containers are often found with mixed waste. Sorting them out and processing it is difficult and requires a lot of energy and manpower, they said.
Towards this end, the Solid Waste Management Round Table has been making localised efforts to spread awareness on this issue in different parts of the city.
Subrahmanya Holla, secretary of the Bengaluru Hotels’ Association, said the association would extend support if food containers are included under the ambit of the plastic ban. “However, the BBMP must ensure that the ban is implemented across the board. They can’t just fine hotels and eateries while allowing smaller players to flout the rules,” he said, pointing to the rampant use of plastic carry bags.