Delhi appears to be losing the war against polluting plastic bags. It has been eight months since plastic bags were banned in the Capital, and in a city of more than one crore people, the authorities have been able to find only about 30 using plastic bags in violation of the ban.
More importantly, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the New Delhi Municipal Council — civic bodies entrusted with enforcing the ban in their areas — have not been able to issue a single challan, according to their own admission in Right to Information queries.
When was the last time a shopkeeper refused to hand out a plastic bag to you citing the ban? The answer is all around for everyone to see.
Plastic bags are back in the counters at all the neighbourhood markets — the main hubs of the ubiquitous plastic bag—in South, West, Central and East Delhi areas, which HT visited in the past two days.
Interestingly, apart from the rampant use of illegal plastic bags, all the shops have something else in common: the display “No plastic bag” outside their establishments.
While the notification which implemented the ban empowered several government departments to penalize violators, the two civic bodies are the two most important executive instruments of the notification simply because only they have the manpower to monitor the ban across the city.
However, as per the RTI reply, the NDMC has been able to only run “awareness programmes” against plastic bags, while the MCD, in charge of most of Delhi’s markets, said it was going to intensify the implementation. “We will be intensifying action,” said Deep Mathur, MCD spokesman.
And stuck in the middle of this, the fight for a plastic bag-free Delhi is losing ground every passing day.
Delhi Environment Secretary Dharmendra said he had written to the civic authorities for implementation of the ban.
“The Delhi Pollution Control Committee alone has challaned 30 violators,” he said. “There are regular meetings with the civic bodies to monitor progress. We also carry out the raids quite routinely,”
But traders who make these bags said it was a matter of easy availability of plastic and the difficulty in procuring adequate jute or paper bags.