Traders in Dehradun threaten to hit the streets against the Uttarakhand government’s ban on plastic across state local bodies, saying the move will affect their livelihood.
The National Green Tribunal, a specialised forum for effective and speedy disposal of cases related to environment protection and conservation, had asked for a ban on plastic only along the banks of the Ganga from Gomukh to Haridwar.
A study, published in Anthropocence journal, suggests plastics have a long-lasting impact on the planet’s geology because they are inert and hard to degrade. As a result, when plastics litter the landscape, they become part of the soil, often ending up in the sea and being consumed by and killing plankton, fish and seabirds.
In January, the urban development department had sent notices to all the 90 urban local bodies of the state to ensure a ban on plastic of any kind in all cities and towns along the Ganga river and its tributaries from February 1.
The green tribunal had also prohibited procurement, storing and sale of plastic items, mandating a penalty of `5,000 for violation.
The Prantiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal, the regional traders’ association, alleged the department implemented the ban in a hurry and without any proper study of its ramifications for the traders.
According to the association, the ban will directly affect at least 150 retailers and suppliers of plastic disposables in Dehradun.
Association president Umesh Aggarwal said they were not against environment conservation but against the “hurried and short-sighted decision” of the state government.
“Many other states are using plastic bags made of 40micron-plus thickness and disposable materials. Why the ban is being extended to those areas which are not on the Ganga banks?” said Aggarwal.
“Secondly, why didn’t the government take the business community in confidence before implementing the blanket ban?” he said.
Association members met urban development officials last week, threatening that they would begin agitation if there was not any urgent relaxation for traders.
Aggarwal said the government should ask the Dehradun Municipal Corporation to put in place an effective system for recycling plastic waste, instead of introducing such moves which harass the traders.
Members of the Doon Patta Association, a group of disposable catering item suppliers, met municipal commissioner Nitin Singh Bhadauria last week in protest against the plastic ban.
The urban development department plans to seek relief from the green bench in its next hearing on February 17.
“There are certain practical issues that we are facing (in implementation of the ban) and want to bring the same to the notice of the NGT and seek relief,” said urban development secretary Darban Singh Garbyal.