Even though the Chandigarh administration had banned the use of polythene bags in the City Beautiful almost eight years ago in 2008, it still has a long way to go in implementation of the ban.
UT officials claimed that around 6,000-kg of banned plastic was seized during raids conducted in the past two years. Nearly 200 violators were challaned during the same time period.
However, garbage disposal plant authorities at Dadu Majra say they are receiving 1,000-kg of banned plastic at the plant every day.
Taking serious note of plastic menace in the city, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on December 4 announced the levying of fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone found using or dealing with plastic material (bags, cups and plates) in Chandigarh.
The tribunal also slammed the Chandigarh administration and civic authorities for not implementing the ban on the said plastic material.
Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM east) Danish Ashraf said, “Use of plastic is rampant in apni mandis. The administration will soon lead aggressive drives for challaning violators. People should also cooperate in implementation of the ban. They should make it their new year resolution.”
Meanwhile, RD Sharma, in-charge of the Dadu Majra garbage disposal plant, said the MC and administration had carried out drives from time to time but had failed to conduct consistent drives to curb the menace. “Why they cannot take action against the manufacturers of polythene bags?” he questioned.
A sanitary inspector said on condition of anonymity that drives were merely an eyewash and the MC was facing severe shortage of staff.
A visit to the city reveals that polythene bags are being used in apni mandis. Vendors selling fruits and vegetables are also using polythene bags, besides the shopkeepers in city markets.
In 2008, the Chandigarh administration had imposed a complete ban on the use and sale of polythene bags in the city under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, for banning the use, storage, import, sale, transportation and disposal of polythene and plastic carry bags by any person in the city. Even though the administration took action against the traders in Sector 26 grain market, but the use of polythene bags is still prevalent.
Under the provisions of the ban imposed in the city, violators-including shopkeepers and customers, are punishable with both imprisonment and fine. While the jail term may extend up to five years, a fine of up to Rs 1-lakh can be levied.