About two weeks after a ban on plastic carry bags came into force in the Capital, the Delhi government on Sunday claimed its enforcement drives were bearing fruit.
“We have finally moved beyond awareness and begun collection of samples so that action can be taken against those found guilty. A week after we visited about 500 shops in malls and hotels, we again went there on Saturday and found that the number of violators had come down from 152 to six. We can say there’s now 95 per cent compliance in these posh areas,” said a senior government official.
“It was heartening to see restaurants refusing to give plastic bags even for takeaway orders. While keeping up the pressure, we will now target big markets and then small traders. Those running tea shops and small kiosks will be our last target,” he said.
As many as 25 teams of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the environment department on Saturday visited a number of shopping malls and five-star hotels in the Capital. The teams seized six samples of plastic carry bags during the drive.
On December 1, 23 teams had visited 44 shopping malls and 19 five-star hotels to warn violators. A total of 468 shops in malls and 46 shops in hotels were covered in the drive .
About 152 shops were then violating the norms in one way or the other.
“At that time, the violators were only cautioned and advised. On Saturday, we visited the same malls and hotels,” said Sandeep Mishra, member secretary, DPCC.
“Their nature of violation will be assessed on a case-to-case basis to avoid any confusion, discrimination or unnecessary harassment and then action, including prosecution, may be initiated,” he said.
Officials of various agencies are enforcing the ban in their respective areas. The DPCC will monitor the drive and, along with sub-divisional magistrates, will file complaints. The punishment for violation is imprisonment of up to seven years and/or a fine of R1 lakh.
The state Cabinet had approved the ban order on September 11 and the government notified it on October 23. It came into force from November 23.