The blanket ban on plastic bags in Delhi came into force from Friday. The government, however, modified its earlier order by exempting plastic bags used for lining garbage bins from the ban. Sources said the change was made after the inconvenience in disposing of waste was highlighted.
Use of all kinds of plastic bags is now banned. The ban extends to the manufacture, sale, storage and usage of plastic bags that have been termed a serious environmental and health hazard by the government.
Plastic carry bags specified under Biomedical Waste (management and handling) Rules, 1998, have been allowed. Plastic used to pack food products which are sealed prior to use has also been allowed.
The three municipal corporations and sales tax department have been asked to put up check posts at borders to ensure plastic bags do not make their way to the Capital from neighbouring towns.
“Our main focus is on malls and markets. Our next step is to create awareness, especially among grocery shop owners and street vendors,” said Sanjiv Kumar, secretary environment and forest, Delhi government.
The department has not started fining anyone but it did issue notices to 90 plastic manufacturers whose units are still operating in the city. “They have 15 days to stop their operations completely. If they don’t, we will revoke their consent letter and seal their establishments,” said a senior government official.
A meeting was held on Friday to discuss the issue. A core team has been formed with representatives from various agencies to carry out inspections. “We have authorised around 600 persons for the enforcement,” added the official. So far the government has managed to earn R1 crore as fine levied on multi-brand outlets.