Delhi could lose 25% plastic bags if NGT ban is implemented
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee will have to implement the orders. A senior environment department official said the agency is waiting for the detailed order and based on it, the next course of action will be decided.delhi Updated: Aug 11, 2017 13:25 IST
At least 25 per cent of plastic bags will be removed from Delhi once the National Green Tribunal’s interim ban on bags less than 50 microns is implemented.
According to plastic manufacturing associations, most of the fruit, vegetable vendors and grocery owners use the thinner plastic, which is below 50 microns, because it is cheaper, is compact and takes less space.
The NGT has imposed an interim ban on the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags less than 50 microns.
“These make up nearly 25 per cent of the total market share of plastic bags. After the ban, shopkeepers will be left with no other option than to charge extra money for paper bags or plastic ones that are thicker and of superior quality. I don’t think it is going to be an easy affair for the agencies to implement the decision as people are habituated to using these bags,” said Sanjay Singhal, member of a plastic recycling association.
According to experts, the thinner plastic bags can’t be reused again and pose a threat to the environment.
“It is a welcome step. However, it’s execution should be done properly. The government should provide good alternatives. The jute and cotton bags are expensive and need to be subsidised,” Swati Sambyal, a waste management expert at the Centre for Science and Environment, said.
The plastic lobby says manufacturing of plastic below 50 microns is already prohibited as per factory licensing norms. But unless the government doesn’t work on proper collection, segregation, recycling and processing of plastic waste, the larger problem is not going to resolve.
“We support the NGT’s decision and will help in abiding the norms. But most of the plastic below 50 microns is brought from neighbouring states such as Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and people are using it in large quantity due to the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities,” said Rajesh Mittal, member, Plastic Manufacturing Association.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee will have to implement the orders. A senior environment department official said the agency is waiting for the detailed order and based on it, the next course of action will be decided.
On the other hand, the municipal corporations of Delhi have already decided to initiate awareness drives to educate citizens.
“We have decided to come out with a series of advertisements on this issue. We will educate people about the harms of plastic below 50 microns, its alternatives, penalty involved and that fact that all the bulk plastic users need to get them registered with municipal corporation,” said a senior official from North MCD.