Polythene ban goes for a toss on Ganga banks in Haridwar
Floating polybags on the Ganga waters and the rampant use of plastic material at Har-Ki-Pauri show the ban is not effectively implemented.dehradun Updated: Dec 04, 2017 21:19 IST
The sale and use of plastic bags and bottles continue on the banks of the Ganga despite a ban by the Uttarakhand government following a high court order passed on December 20, 2016.
The National Green Tribunal had asked the state government in 2015 to ensure ban on sale of plastic bottles near the Ganga -- from Gomukh to Haridwar -- and shutdown all shops selling them. The green panel had directed a fine of Rs 5,000 per day on hotels, dharamshalas and ashrams spewing waste into the river.
Floating polybags on the Ganga waters and the rampant use of plastic material at Har-Ki-Pauri show the ban is not effectively implemented.
In Haridwar, the Ganga Sabha that manages the religious affairs of the shrine and district administration claim that they have taken steps to comply with the court and NGT directives.
“I had seized several godowns where polythene bags were stored and also penalised traders using or selling polythene material,” said district magistrate Deepak Rawat. At a recent meeting, he said, traders were asked to shun plastic or face action.
“We don’t have the power to penalise anyone, but we are doing our bit by leading awareness campaigns,” said Ganga Sabha president Purushottam Sharma. “We also take promise from the pilgrims during Ganga aarti held at Har-Ki-Pauri that they will keep the river clean.”
“What will pilgrims promise or administration do if there is no alternative to polythene?” asked a stockist of plastic material. “I have a stock for six months, so first we need to clear the stock and then administration should come to us,” he suggested.
Tej Prakash Sahu, associated with the local traders’ union, said, “Government should share the cost of expensive options like jute bags. Plastic is used because it is less costly.”
During an inspection at Har-Ki-Pauri, Shariq Abbas Zaidi of NGT had expressed displeasure over large-scale use of polythene. He was quoted as saying, “One department passes buck to the other but no stringent, long-term step is taken to fully stop use of polythene.”