With the National Green Tribunal order with regard to ban on polythene bags, plastic cups , plates and allied material lacking clarity, confusion prevails as to what all is covered under the ban.
The UT administration’s much-hyped drive on use of polythene bags has run into rough weather with the first trader fined Rs 5,000 on Saturday for stocking polythene bags vehemently contesting the administration’s action. The trader claimed that the polythene bags seized from the outlet were biodegradable.
The National Green Tribunal in the beginning of this month had ordered the UT administration to issue Rs 5,000 challan to people found using polythene bags in Chandigarh. Polythene bags had been banned in Chandigarh since 2008, but their use was rampant.
But the administration, so far, has failed to get clarity on the NGT order.
The Member secretary of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee Danish Ashraf said, “In case someone claims to be using biodegradable bags, he is supposed to have a proper clearance certificate from the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee. It is not correct that anyone starts using a new product claiming it to be environment-friendly without the approval of the authority concerned.”
The owner of In & Out store in Sector 4 was issued a challan of Rs 5000 and 1.2 quintal polythene bags were seized from his outlet. Representing the outlet Siddhant Das claimed, “We use biodegradable bags and the Chandigarh administration did not give us time to give our side of version. There is in fact no clarity on what kind of polythene is banned.” Das further said that the challan didn’t specify the offence.
SDM (central) Prince Dhawan said, “We only issued the challan, but, so far, no fine has been charged from the outlet owner. The plastic bags have been sent for technical examination to authenticate whether they are biodegradable or not. Until and unless the report comes, nobody can claim they are biodegradable.”
Four traders issued Rs 5,000 challans
Four challans were issued in Sector 24 for using polythene bags on Monday and about 20-kg polythene bags were seized.
Director, environment, Santosh Kumar, said, “There is a complete ban on polythene bags in the city, irrespective of their thickness. We will seek clarity from the NGT in the next hearing on January 7. We also need clarity on the ban on use of plastic cups and plates.”