The Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Friday approved a complete ban on the distribution, manufacture and sales of polythene carry bags in the state.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav presided over the meeting of the state cabinet that also decided to convene the budget session of the state legislature in the last week of January 2016 (after January 26) and approved e-auctioning in the state ‘mandis’ (agriculture produce markets) and a unified licence for traders across the state.
“The polythene ban in the state is being initiated because of the court’s order and also because it is environment friendly. We are also trying to find an alternative for the same,” the chief minister said after the state cabinet meeting.
The Allahabad high court had last month directed the Uttar Pradesh government to issue a notification enforcing a complete ban on the sale of polythene across the state by December 31.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) too had recently banned the use of polythene along the Ganga, including areas in Uttar Pradesh, and sources said the cabinet decision was in compliance with those orders.
However, the situation in Ghaziabad remains grim due to the rampant use of polythene carry bags. Environment activists said that the enforcement of the ban will be a major challenge.
“Enforcement is the major challenge in implementing such orders. Officials will have to be given definite responsibilities and the power to take immediate action against violators. It will be very difficult to eliminate the use of polythene bags completely as it is still high on demand for day-to-day needs. Polythene is the major reason for choked drains and it is also the cause of death of several stray animals,” Vijay Pal Baghel, an environment activist said.
“Most of the sewerage treatment plants we have are developed on technology from foreign countries. They are not equipped to treat water, which is studded with polythene. Polythene burnt with garbage also emits toxic fumes which are dangerous to health,” Baghel said.