With a view to saving environment and controlling pollution, the state government is all set to completely ban the use of biodegradable polythene.
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) recently presented a written draft of the necessary amendments needed to be made in the Punjab Plastic Bags (Manufacture, Usage and Disposal) Control Act. Before implementing a complete ban on the use of plastic polybags, the government is likely to pass these amendments by bringing in an ordinance.
"It's up to the government now. We are hopeful that in the next cabinet meeting, the ordinance regarding these amendments in the act will be brought in," said PPCB chairman Ravinder Singh, while talking to Hindustan Times, on his visit to Ludhiana.
The chairman said there would be a complete ban on the sale of any kind of biodegradable polythene in the state after the act came into force and the state government was eager to implement it completely.
According to the current provisions, the act prohibits the manufacturing, disposal and usage of polythene bags from virgin plastic of thickness not less than 30 micron and size not less than 8x12 inches and of a colour other than the specified colour.
Experts consider it a partial ban as the state failed to implement it strictly because of some shortcomings in the act.
"Now, there will be a complete ban on the sale and manufacturing of all kinds of polythene. The amended act is coming with strong penalties to stop its sale in the market," the PPCB chairman said.
PPCB member secretary Babu Ram said the board, before making necessary changes in the act, had also studied the effectiveness of implementing the complete ban on polythene in the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh. Himachal is the first state to put a complete ban on the usage and manufacturing of polythene.
Seema Jain, secretary, science and environment, said the draft of the ordinance was being finalised and after getting a nod from the government, it would be put in before the cabinet soon.
Why ban is need of the hour
The indiscriminate use of polythene is causing problems in society. The local bodies were complaining repeatedly regarding the blockage of the sewerage system that was getting chocked with non-biodegradable polythene. The animal husbandry department had also been issuing warnings that a lot of stray cattle were dying after consuming waste polythene from the dumping pits. The environment was also getting polluted with the large-scale use of polythene. The fertility of soil was getting affected with the indiscriminate disposal of polythene in an unscientific manner.