To ensure the implementation of ban on polythene carry bags and thermocol items (excluding packing material) from April 1, the municipal corporation (MC) has constituted enforcement teams to conduct special drives in all four zones of the city.
Though the MC had announced to issue challans against violators for use of polythene, the residents are not aware about any such ban on manufacturing, stocking, distribution, reuse, selling and use of polythene (plastic) carry bags and thermocol material.
MC commissioner GK Singh Dhaliwal has issued instructions to health branch chief and zonal commissioners to ensure implementation of the ban and conduct raids to keep check on violation of the norms.
He said they would create awareness among residents and vendors on not using the banned items.
MC additional commissioner-cum- health branch chief Rishipal Singh said, “I have given directions to the staff to issue a challan of Rs 5,000 to the violators. We have placed the awareness hoardings to create awareness on banned polythene bags and thermocol items which are harmful for health.
Residents to find alternative for plastic bags
Residents generally use black polybags to collect garbage, but now they would have to find a new option to collect garbage. Meanwhile, residents are also being encouraged to use separate bins for collection of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste.
A city resident, Tejinder Singh said, “It is a good initiative to ban the carry bags. Mostly residents are not aware about the ban. So, government should organise camps to create awareness among residents. The state government should improve the solid-waste management system.”
Street vendors, shopkeepers worried
Mostly shopkeepers and street vendors have not been able to arrange any alternative for plastic carry bags to replace the banned polybags.
Ludhiana Rehri Phari Federation president Tiger Singh said, “We got a copy of the notification about the ban. But, vendors have no replacement of carry bags. If the government has allowed the plastic packing material for milk and juices, why a ban has been imposed on plastic carry bags? We are conducting meeting in this regard, as government has not informed about any alternative for plastic bags.”
NGOs welcome move
A group of members of the civil society organisations, NGOs, doctors, animal welfare societies, environmentalists and social workers have welcomed the Punjab government’s announcement of complete ban on plastic bags and styrofoam products.
Ravneet Singh of EcoSikh, an organisation, said, “It is a great step by government towards a new era of healthy Punjab. It will certainly reduce the waste management load by at least 50%. Moreover, the langars in Punjab will no more pollute the land with non-biodegradable and dangerous one-time-use disposables like Styrofoam.”
Amandeep Singh Bains of RBS Roots, an NGO, said, “It will create a huge room for local small-scale jute and paper industry to bloom and create enormous employment opportunities, besides providing environmentally safe products.”
Plastic bag makers, traders stage protest
Members of the Plastic Manufacturers and Traders Association of Punjab organised a rally from Vishkarma Chowk to the mini-secretariat against state government’s complete ban on plastic bags on Thursday. They blocked traffic for around 15 minutes on Bharat Nagar Chowk.
After this, they staged a protest outside deputy commissioner’s office for an hour and raised slogans against state government for imposing ban and its wrong policies.
Gurdeep Singh, president of the Plastic Manufacturers and Traders Association, Punjab, said, “Whole plastic industry is in panic due to the ban imposed on plastic carry bags from April 1 across Punjab. Approximately 15 lakh people are employed in the plastic industry in Punjab including manufacturers, traders, retailers, suppliers of machinery and equipment to plastic industry.”
They told deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat that the ban on plastic bags was not feasible because they had no alternative for these bags. They also claimed that the Centre had recommended increasing the thickness of plastic bags from 40 microns to 50 microns.
Singh also claimed that from plastic industry of Punjab, the state government was earning annual revenue of `400 crore, including VAT, excise tax, service tax, municipal corporation fees and license fees among others. The decision will leave a large number of people without any jobs, he added.
Members of the association claimed that the deputy commissioner assured them to hold a meeting with the association within a few days to take a wise decision on the matter.
Deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat said, “Association members have presented the memorandum regarding their demands and I will present their demands before deputy chief minister.”