Despite court bans and government orders, use of polythene continues unabated in the twin cities of Noida and Greater Noida. Vendors at a weekly vegetable market in Noida alone use 12,000 polythene bags in a day. Thirty lakh milk pouches are choking the city and other parts of Delhi/NCR daily.
Gutkha wrappers number a whopping three crore. Add to it, 50 lakh water pouches in 24 hours. The Supreme Court has already ordered a ban on the sale of tobacco products like gutkha and pan masala in plastic pouches.
“We have been trying to curb the practice. Most of the Big Bazaar, Reliance Fresh, Easy Day and Mother Dairy stores have now stopped offering polythene bags to customers,” said a senior official of Greater Noida Authority. These stores are offering carrybags made of materials other than plastic with extra charges or asking customers to carry cloth bags.
But on Wednesday evening, it was business as usual. Stores like Lifestyle, Shoppers’ Stop, Westside and Lilliput World continued with plastic bags.
Noida authority officials have maintained efforts were being made to crackdown on their use. “Plus, steps are being taken towards an effective waste management plan,” said an official.
Rajeev Kumar Gupta, associate professor at Government PG College in Noida, who has done extensive work on the use of plastic, said the menace has assumed an alarming proportion. “There are no hoardings. There is no publicity,” he said.
When asked what all was being done to check this menace, a senior Pollution Control Board official said, “We, carry out drives for public awareness. As for action, it’s the responsibility of bodies like Nagar Nigam and development authorities.”