A city court took serious note of the environmental hazards posed by plastic bags and slapped footwear major Bata Shoe Stores with a fine of Rs 1 lakh for using plastic bags.
In his order, Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Shailender Malik, directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to utilise the penalty money to distribute biodegradable bags among small shopkeepers to create awareness about eco-friendly steps. The court also directed the store manager Mahmud Hasan to be present in court till its rising for the day.
In September last, the DPCC had filed a case against Bata Shoe Stores and Hasan alleging they were storing and selling shoes and footwear in plastic bags at their premises at Kashmiri Gate.
Relying on prosecution witnessess, including SDM (Sadar Bazar), who had picked samples of the plastic bags from the shop, the court held the accused guilty of violation of the Environment Protection Act and Delhi government notification banning plastic bags issued last year.
Highlighting the various health risks due to plastic bags, the court said, “It is known to all that plastic wastes when disposed off still remain in the environment being non-biodegradable and thus.... it is environment as well as health risks to the citizens, can cause cancer.”
“It is directed that the said sum of Rs 1 lakh will be used by DPCC for distributing bio-degradable bags which are environment-friendly to maximum number of small shop-keepers and for creating awareness among people about eco-friendly bags,” it added.
Since enforcement of the ban notification, six cases have been decided in the court while 120 are in various stages of hearing, an official revealed.
“Also, the department is in the process of filing 200 more cases,” he said.