Delhi stands by ban as Union minister makes case for plastic
Just when Delhi was getting used to a life without plastic bags, the Central government's stand against a blanket ban on them has tilted the balance in favour of the plastic manufacturers lobby.delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2009 00:09 IST
Just when Delhi was getting used to a life without plastic bags, the Central government's stand against a blanket ban on them has tilted the balance in favour of the plastic manufacturers lobby.
Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told Lok Sabha on Wednesday that a complete ban on plastic was not good because it would result in cutting of trees as people would switch to paper bags, a by-product of wood. He said most states have banned plastic bags because municipal bodies have failed to properly dispose or recycle solid waste.
The Delhi Government notified a blanket ban on plastic in January this year following an order passed by the Delhi High Court.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit spoke to Ramesh on Thursday on this issue.
“I have told him that there is not a complete ban as bio-degradable plastics that have thickness below 40 microns are allowed. Also, there are several alternatives like recycling of paper, cloth bags and jute bags,” she said.
“We have only stopped the use of bad quality plastic that are unfriendly to the environment,” she said. “Many NGOs are now making bags where other material is being weaved with plastic.”
Vinod Jain, the petitioner in the case that brought in the ban, said the Union minister’s comment was detrimental to the efforts of banning plastic in Delhi.
“What the minister has said is just the repetition of the argument given by the plastic lobby on the PIL filed by me in the court. It is very unfortunate,” said Vinod Jain. “If plastic in not hazardous to health, why would the court uphold that disposal of plastic is harmful to environment?”
“The minister should have taken into consideration the order passed by the court judges before passing such a remark,” he said. “Plastic bags has been banned by many countries and its use is being discouraged all over the world.”
O.P. Ratra, scientific advisor to the plastic industry, said plastics have not been imposed on people. They are used because of its merit, compared to jute and paper, he said. “The so called hazard from plastic bags is actually due to lack of solid waste management,” he said.