Union tourism minister Mahesh Sharma on Sunday visited heritage sites in Delhi and announced a ban on polythene at all national monuments, in an initiative to boost the government’s ‘Swachh Bharat, Swachh Smarak’ campaign.
Sharma, along with officials of the tourism ministry and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), visited the Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar.
He directed the officials to implement a complete ban on polythene at all monuments within a month and asked them to ensure cleanliness and availability of basic facilities such as toilets and cafeteria at the sites.
“Taking forward the Swachh Bharat Mission, we have decided to ban polythene at all national monuments and tourist destinations from Gandhi Jayanti this year,” Sharma said.
He said plastic bottles will not be banned, but tourists will be asked to place those in recycle bins.
With the trial phase of the initiative launched last month, the ban will be applicable in a 100-metre radius of the monuments.
It will be easier to implement this initiative as the monuments have security personnel who can check tourists at the entrance, Sharma said.
The initiative will be reviewed after a month to decide if there is any need to impose fines on the offenders, an official said.
The Centre had in March banned the manufacture of plastic bags of below 50 microns as these are difficult to dispose of thus posing a major threat to the environment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014. It aims to eliminate open defecation, manual scavenging and encourage modern and scientific municipal solid waste management, among others.