Plastic use can lead to fines up to ₹25,000 from February 27
Using plastic from February 27 can invite penalties of up to ₹25,000 as the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) on Thursday issued a notification for residents, shopkeepers, retailers and vendors to stop the practice. The MCG has set a 15-day deadline for compliance of the order, following which officials will start fining violators.
In its order, the MCG has banned the usage of various types of plastic, such as polythene, plastic bags, bottled water with volume less than 200 ml, any type of single-use plastic, plastic wraps used for gift wrapping or in bouquets and plastic sheets used for table cover, among other such items, under the Haryana Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 1988.
Depending on the quantity of plastic, fines can range from ₹500 to ₹25,000. (see box)
“Over the last four months, the MCG has started several projects to curb the use of plastic and polythene across the city. The latest order has been issued keeping this continuous effort in mind. We have now reached a stage where a citywide implementation is needed to eradicate plastic completely,” said Dheeraj Kumar, joint commissioner, Swachh Bharat Mission, MCG.
Most garbage collected from across the city is non-biodegradable plastic waste, which increases legacy waste and is one of the primary reasons for choked drains across the city. Hence, a citywide ban is being enforced, said Kumar.
“In the past four months, the MCG has generated enough awareness regarding the banning of polythene and single-use plastic so there has been ample time to make the shift. We’ll start fining violators for using them from February 27. Regarding other types of plastic, we will be carrying out area wise awareness drives to ensure people are aware that using them is a violation and after a short period of time, start issuing fines for it as well,” said Kumar.
Kumar said that the MCG will be constituting several teams for carrying out awareness drives across the city and subsequently, for enforcement measures.
“The problem with such policies and notification is that consumers are mainly penalised for using plastic instead of those supplying it. Until the supply is checked, the production of plastic will remain unaffected and will continue to be circulated in the market. This is not just the case in Gurugram but across various cities in the country as well, where a similar ban has been introduced. The public bodies concerned, such as the MCG, should look at adopting other strategies for more successful implementation,” said Priyavrat Bhati, sector head, Climate, Environment and Sustainability, Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy.
Since last December, the MCG has been working towards turning four markets in the city — Vyapar Kendra in Sushant Lok-1, Sector 46 market, Sector 4 market and Sector 23 market — into areas free of polythene and single-use plastic. Each of these markets is located in a different zone of the MCG.
“Until the MCG starts fining violators, the practice of using plastic and polythene will continue. The same has been the case in the Sector 46 market as well. Since the MCG has started issuing fines, both shopkeepers and visitors have largely refrained from using polythene and single-use plastic. To make this a success across the city, it is essential that the enforcement is stringent and remains a continuous effort, instead of a one-off measure,” said Vikram Yadav, president, Sector 46 market association.