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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Enforcing ban on plastic bags an uphill task for Delhi govt

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 11, 2012
First Published: 23:58 IST(11/9/2012) | Last Updated: 00:59 IST(12/9/2012)

Even as the Delhi cabinet has passed the order banning all kinds of plastic carry bags, it will be an uphill task for the state government to implement it.

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The track record of the Delhi government in implementing such bans does not inspire much hope as a similar order was issued in 2009. After the initial enforcement drives, the ban fizzled out and plastic bags reappeared in Delhi stores.

Sample this: Since January 2009, the government has been able to lodge only 300 cases of violation of the ban. However, officials claim that this time round they have increased the number of enforcers.

"The enforcement was limited to a smaller area comprising mainly of shopping complexes. An earlier Central order had banned plastic less than 40 microns in thickness. But this (the latest order) will be a blanket ban irrespective of the thickness of the plastic," said Sanjiv Kumar, secretary (environment and forest), Delhi government. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/9/12_09_D_MTR02b.jpg

The government has also ordered a survey and will soon issue notices to plastic carry-bag manufacturers.

"People need to learn shopping without plastic bags. We will rope in RWAs and launch an awareness campaign about segregation of waste," added Kumar.

"We will upload a PowerPoint presentation on our website, explaining the ban. Sale of pre-packed items such as flour bags will continue. We will also use social networking sites," he said.

Delhiites feel there will be practical problems in implementing such a ban.

"What about black plastic sheets used for waste disposal?" said Sumit Singh, a resident of Mayur Vihar.

"Such bans don't work anywhere. The government should make people aware of the harmful effects of plastic bags rather than enforcing bans," said Satish Sinha of Toxics Link, an NGO.

Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the three municipal corporations, environment and labour departments and sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) will be responsible for enforcing the ban.

DPCC and SDMs will act as prosecution agencies.

Violating the ban will be punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years and/or a fine of Rs. 1 lakh. A special court at Tis Hazari has already set up for conducting trial in such cases.

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