Implementing the blanket ban on the use of polythene from January 1 will be a big challenge for the Madhya Pradesh government, given the legalities involved and its track record on enforcing curb on use of polythene less than 40 microns.
To protect the environment and public health, the Madhya Pradesh government has called for a complete ban on the use of plastic in the state from January 1, 2016 when a central legislation bans the use of plastic bags not having minimum thickness of 40 microns.
Sachin Verma, counsel for the state government in the 2013 Sandeep Lahariya case, told HT that though the state government had in principle agreed to ban polythene there were several legal impediments in making it work.
“A central legislation on the issue bans only polythene less than 40 microns in thickness. So in a way we can’t go against the central legislation on our own. And even if the MP government bans polythene, the plastic manufacturers would file a case against the state government, arguing there was no law which bans polythene over 40 microns,” said Verma.
Environmentalist Subhash Pandey too feels putting a ban on polythene in general would be difficult as polythene was used in many packaging materials. “Forget about polythene above 40 microns, the authorities have failed to enforce ban on polythene less than 40 microns. Since 2011, the administration has been trying to enforce a ban on the polythene have thickness below 40 microns, but it has not succeeded,” he said.