About six weeks after the state cabinet passed an order banning manufacture, sale, storage and use of plastic bags in the Capital, the government has finally notified the ban.
Despite pressures from the plastic lobby and some practical issues involved, the government has notified the cabinet order of September 11. “We have completed all formalities. Now it’s (the cabinet order) is as good as notified. A formal announcement will soon be made,” a top government official told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
“We will now issue a one-month notice to plastic manufacturing companies,” the official said. The notification will ban all kinds of plastic carrybags, sheets, films or tubes —irrespective of thickness. The punishment for violation is imprisonment of up to seven years and/or a fine of Rs. 1 lakh. The notification will not ban plastic carrybags used for bio-medical waste disposal or affect sale of pre-packaged items such as milk or flour.But a formal notification is likely to stir a hornets’ nest. "Plastic bags are cheap. Buyers would have to be burdened now," cautioned Ashok Randhawa, a trader.
“I don’t know how to dispose waste in paper bags. Items such as meat, sweets, curd and groceries cannot be carried in paper bags,” said Rakesh Das, a Laxmi Nagar resident.
Not everyone is as disappointed. “Recycled paper bags are a good alternative. The price ranges for one bag from 50 paise to R6,” said Sunil Sehgal, a recycled paper bag manufacturer.
“When plastic bags were not around, even then people bought curd milk and meat,” Sehgal said.
OP Ratra, who was a member of the national plastic waste management task force of the ministry of environment and forests (1996-97), however, said, “Use of plastic is not harmful if it is recycled properly and not littered.”
Ratra, who represents the plastic lobby, said, “I know the issue. The Delhi high court even asked me to assist a committee, which gave its recommendations on the issue. The ban violates people’s freedom of profession, trade, or business.”
Ratra, who intervened in the Delhi high court hearing on the issue and has now moved the Supreme Court against any such ban, said, “The matter is in court. The Delhi government cannot notify it (the ban).”