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.