NGT ban: Agencies seize 8,000 kg plastic in Delhi, wonder how to dispose it

A senior official in the state environment department said that the government was exploring options on how to dispose of these plastic bags. The final call would be, however, taken by the National Green Tribunal as it was on the court’s order on August 10 that plastic less than 50 microns was banned.

delhi Updated: Aug 27, 2017 23:48 IST
NGT,Delhi plastic ban,NGT plastic ban
Till August 23, the government, civic bodies and other government bodies had seized around 7,739 kilos of plastic. The amount has now crossed 8,000 kilos. (Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

The state government, sitting with more than 8,000 kilos of plastic seized across Delhi since August 17, could face another herculean task soon -- how to dispose of this banned material.

A senior official in the state environment department said that the government was exploring options on how to dispose of these plastic bags. The final call would be, however, taken by the National Green Tribunal as it was on the court’s order on August 10 that plastic less than 50 microns was seized and fines imposed.

“We cannot just dump them in the landfill sites, nor can we burn them openly as it would trigger heavy pollution. We are exploring all options,” said a senior official.

The problem is compounded by the fact that the Bureau of Indian Standards has not laid down any norms or guidelines how to recycle plastic less than 50 microns.

Till August 23, the government, civic bodies and other government bodies had seized around 7,739 kilos of plastic. The amount has now crossed 8,000 kilos.

“We have seized around 350 kilos of plastic. We assume the court will surely give some options for disposing of the seized plastic, kept at our store rooms,” said senior North DMC officials.

In the past, civic bodies in Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru had faced similar problems when tonnes of plastic were seized. In Thiruvananthapuram, municipal workers had to manually tear the plastic bags to ensure than it didn’t reach the markets again.

“One of the options could be sending them to waste-to-energy or cement plants where they could be used as coprocessors. But authorities have to be extra cautious about emission norms because burning plastic triggers heavy pollution,” said Swati Singh Sambyal, program manager (solid waste) of Centre for Science and Environment.

A second option could be selling to plastic manufacturers through a tendering process. The seized plastic could be turned into pellets, which could be used to manufacture reusable plastic as pen, caps, bottles and boxes.

The SDMC planned to dispose of the seized plastic material as per the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, notified by the Union ministry of environment and forests.

“The process would include mixing the plastic with the garbage is small quantity and using as fuel at the waste to energy plant. There is no other option as the quantity of plastic seized so far is not huge and we can’t get into the cumbersome process of installing furnace and turning into plastic pellets,” said senior official South DMC.

The NGT will hear the matter again on Tuesday.

First Published: Aug 27, 2017 23:48 IST