Ludhiana MC launches crackdown on polythene, seizes 125kg bags
Aiming to rid the city of plastic waste, the municipal corporation kickstarted a drive against polythene bags on Monday.
Nearly 125kg plastic bags were confiscated by MC teams during raids at shops and vegetable markets in Field Ganj, Khud Mohalla, Baba Than Singh Chowk and Chandigarh road.
Of this, bags weighing around 85kg were confiscated from one Khud Mohalla shop alone. Fines totaling ₹1 lakh were issued to the defaulters.
The shopkeepers resisted the MC action, but the drive continued in the presence of police force. Fearing seizures, several others downed their shutters.
On July 21, mayor Balkar Sandhu had announced a ban on plastic carry bags from August 1. A 13-member team, led by MC secretary Jasdev Sekhon, was formed to carry out to enforce the ban and challan the defaulters.
Sekhon said, “The shopkeepers need to settle the challans in three days, else these will be forwarded to court. The material seized will be disposed of. The drive will continue and violators will face action.”
During the raids, the MC team also appealed to customers to bring their own fabric bags for shopping and acknowledged those who were seen already carrying them.
Under the Solid Waste Management and Cleanliness and Sanitation Bylaws, 2020, a maximum challan of ₹20,000 can being issued if more than 5kg plastic bags are confiscated from a shop.
Carrying even bags up to 100gm can invite a challan of ₹2,000.
MC officials said soon a drive will also be launched to challan residents found carrying plastic bags.
Though a ban on plastic bags has been in place in Punjab since April 2016, the Ludhiana MC has failed to rein in their use.
Apart from to political interference, pressure from the plastic industry has also derailed MC’s efforts on multiple occasions, allowing plastic bag use to continue unabated. Even on Monday, shopkeepers tried to avoid action by calling up representatives of different political parties and local leaders.
Ban on single-use plastic hangs fire
The municipal corporation (MC) General House had also approved a resolution against single-use plastic articles. However, in the absence of a notification regarding the list of items to be banned, the MC team has failed to commence a drive.
The MC House had taken the decision over two weeks ago on July 14, citing damage to the environment and blockage of sewer lines due to dumping of plastic waste. But, a list of articles to be banned is still awaited.
Sekhon said they will proceed with action once the higher authorities finalise the articles to be banned.
An MC official, requesting anonymity, said various plastic items, like drinking straws, mineral water bottles, cups, plates and spoons, were meant for single-use and it will be a Herculean task to check their use.
There’s also the question of materials made out of thermocol material.
The official said along with plastic carry bags, the government had banned use of disposable thermocol items in 2016. But through an amendment use of some thermocol articles, like plates, cups, etc, was permitted. However, a fresh notification has not been issued in this regard.