Green Alert In Mumbai

 Last week after my usual shopping at one of the leading grocery /departmental stores, the guy at the counter held out a Say no to plasticplacard in front of me. It said ‘ Go green- Say no to plastic’. On my prodding, he carelessly announced that next time I come for shopping, I must get my own bags. I was pleasantly surprised and shocked that the  the government has issued a strict order to ban plastic bags and hence they wouldn’t be providing any, from now on.

On further probing, he took out a cloth bag, which was being sold for Rs 25. He meant that I could buy it in case i do not wish to get my bag. But still i could see the plastic bags on the counter beside him , although the huge ones were missing. Then he asked me “Madam, which ones- Rs 2 , Rs 3 or Rs 6?” I was flabbergasted and was trying to figure out what this chap was blabbering. First, the guys at the counters are not a very friendly lot. They just continue to stare at the computers even if a customer is trying to reason with him about the bill and it annoys me no end. Surprisingly, he took the pains of explaining it to me that different plastic bags of varied sizes were available but i would have to shell out the price mentioned above. Huh!!!

Now, the bags were small and couldn’t hold a months’ ration! This is a very clever initiative of earning money because obviously no one could ever stuff their buyings into a single polythene bag, thus you end up buying more bags.  What they could have done was at least give the large bags so that the number of bags could have been reduced.Plus, the practice of segregating the food items from the detergent doesn’t help in any way. What is the point in carrying ten bags when items can be accommodated in a single bag! I heard people in the queue grumbling about how this is a perfect ploy to earn more money and loot the middle class crowd. No one seemed happy that there would be less plastic choking our gutters … Sigh!

I was puzzled because in no way, are we eliminating the cause of pollution. Instead this has encouraged people to shell out money and thus end up feeding our store owner.  If a person shops for say Rs 5000, would he mind shelling out an extra 10 buck for plastic bags? No way, he wouldn’t because he thinks about the comfort factor rather than bringing huge cloth bags with him, every time he shops. The government must realize that people are ready to pay money and this is in no way a deterrent to end the plastic menace. I still remember, when there were no flashy malls with huge grocery stores,  my mom used to go to the local kirana wala  and place her request. The kiranawala would deliver the grocery at my doorstep but in a big cloth bag and leave. May be its time to go back to my old kiranawala guy and let go of the shopping malls which promote this crap! I hope the government wakes up before we are buried under this mess.

As someone rightly said- Modernization should not pave way for misery.

15 thoughts on “Green Alert In Mumbai

  1. You know this is the system followed worldwide? I know it sucks but it happens in Hong Kong, Europe, Sing- almost anywhere I have been. And I know most people end up buying the bag anyway so if u have the money-u r allowed to pollute? Someone is a savvy marketeer!

    • the noble cause behind this is lost somewhere disguised by the greed for money! I am just amazed at the quantity of plastic retrieved from gutters. Imagine the beaches, the big nullahs!! It’s scary. there has to be a proper way to dispose plastic else we are gonna choke on them.

  2. can’t help it. something so deeply entrenched in our habit through the decades cannot be gone so easily. and the people, vendor as well as the consumer will go against it with the usual way of their life; vendors with their knack of making money, and consumers with their desire for hassle-free and cheap transaction. it’s not going to be easy

      • it will end, surely. but not in a linear fashion in which we are imagining it and doubting its success. it will go through a very circuitous path before reaching its conclusion…

  3. Its ironical that, as someone rightly said in the comments, even though plastic bags are “banned” they are still being sold, that too at a price. Plastic bags are a serious cause of pollution and also dangerous for animals, birds, fishes who swallow it. If you have been to the Deonar dumping ground, the garbage mostly consists of plastics.

    • Every monsoon a small gutter in front of my office is cleaned up. You wont believe the amount of plastic fished out from the gutter is almost 5 feet in height, when stacked!!

  4. Here in Hyderabad the big flashy grocery stores are giving the plastic for free… meaning they’re not even bothering to try and not use plastic. But the smaller stores are refusing to give out plastic bags…

  5. coz we all are sleeping.. i dun know who said, but its said proper that “indian middleclass is the most selfish on the whole globe”” priya let me tel you, dun feel bad please, but this is very fact… we are sleepinga dn awake jz for our own causes and concerns and thuis help this politicians directly to find ways to loot us… come on , lets wake up…

    • Hmmm…i might not call the middle class selfish as they are the ones who are bleeding right now! The politicians to the the upper class, have fun at their expense and the middle class becomes the scape goat. That explains why South Mumbai is much cleaner than the rest of Mumbai!! Because the rich and powerful live over there…Thanks for the comment.

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