Five years on, civic agencies yet to enforce polythene ban
Use and sale of plastic bags has been banned in the city for the last five years but nothing has changed on the ground. Residents and shopkeepers continue to use polythene with impunity, bringing to question the efficacy of attempts made by the civic bodies to implement the ban.gurgaon Updated: Sep 26, 2016 00:19 IST
Use and sale of plastic bags has been banned in the city for the last five years but nothing has changed on the ground. Residents and shopkeepers continue to use polythene with impunity, bringing to question the efficacy of attempts made by the civic bodies to implement the ban.
In their defence, the local bodies claim that since February, they have been organising awareness camps for students, residents and corporates to discourage them from using plastic bags under ‘no-polythene campaign’. Officials also said that following raids over the last eight months, five organisations were fined for manufacturing and using plastic.
“We are making efforts to ensure that people shift from plastic to jute or cloth bags. From conducting raids to organising discussions, the district administration is making all efforts to ensure complete implementation. We challaned five people for manufacturing plastic and an affidavit was signed by them stating that they will neither use or manufacture polythene,” said in-charge of the no-polythene campaign.
However, a visit to markets of upscale societies, including phases of DLF, South City, and Sushant Lok, reveals that shopkeepers - vegetable and fruit sellers, grocery sellers, even laundry services - continue to use plastic bags freely.
“The grocery stores in the local markets provide polythene bags to customers. We try to carry cloth bags from home but at times when the shopping list is too long, the shopkeepers provide us with plastic bags. There is little or no implementation of the plastic ban here,” said Parth Sharma of Sushant Lok.
Even in Sadar Bazaar, where the administration claims to have organised most number of ‘no-polythene’ campaigns, plastic bags can be spotted hanging to carts of vendors. Meanwhile, residents claim that while plastic bags are given for free, they have to shell out Rs 5 -10 for cloth bags and this discourages the shift.
”All shops use polythene despite putting ‘no-plastic’ signs on the counter. People who come to the market are generally not very rich and they cannot afford to spend Rs 5 every time they go to buy vegetables or grocery. Also, it is not possible to carry a cloth bag with you all the time,” said Amit Kumar, a shopper at Sadar Bazaar.
Officials from the sanitation department said that the amount of non-biodegradable waste has not reduced in the city and plastic bags continue to choke sewers, drains and pipelines.
“There has been no significant impact of the recent campaign launched by the district administration. We are still collecting hundreds of kilogrammes of non-biodegradable waste from the city. The campaign cannot be called eyewash as serious measures are being taken,” said a sanitation inspector requesting anonymity.
However, environmentalist raise serious concerns on the increasing use of plastic in the city. They said that disposed plastic bags affect the overall environment from animals to groundwater recharge.
“Plastic bags in household or industrial waste are eaten by animals or birds who can neither digest or pass it and so it remains in their gut. It hinders the digestion process in the body and causes a painful and slow death. Moreover, if the plastic settles on the base or top of a water body like ponds, it can destroy its entire ecology,” said Vivek Kambhoj, a city-based environmentalist.
Environmentalists add that there are a number of cases bearing out the harmful effects of plastic and the ban should be implemented before such cases become common in Gurgaon.