Delhi govt imposes ban on plastic bags
In a major environment-friendly initiative, the Delhi government today decided to impose a blanket ban on manufacture, sale, storage and use of plastic bags in the national capital.
The decision was taken at Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
Officials said the use of plastic cover/pouch to pack magazines, invitation cards, greeting cards will also be prohibited.
Green groups have been demanding a blanket ban on plastic bags in the capital for long.
Following a Delhi High Court order, the government had in January, 2009 imposed a ban on the use of plastic bags in various markets, shopping malls, hotels and hospitals but it has not produced any desired result.
The government has now decided to impose the ban as per provision of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 under which the violators could face imprisonment up to five years and fine of upto Rs 1 lakh or both.
"The Cabinet has decided to impose a ban on manufacture, sale, storage and usage of plastic bags in Delhi considering its adverse impact on the environment and ecology," Dikshit, known for her environment-friendly initiatives, said.
She said plastic bags have been causing blockage of sewerage network in the city resulting in serious public health-related problems.
Officials said the Cabinet took the decision as the existing ban on plastic bags, which did not include manufacturing activities, have not produced any desired results.
As per the decision, no person including shopkeepers, vendors, wholesalers, retailers and hawkers will be allowed to sell, store or use plastic carry bags for supply of any goods.
Plastic carry bags for use, as specified under the BioMedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998 will not be covered under the ban.
Officials said the ban would come into force after issuance of a notification to this effect. "The notification will be issued soon," they said.
In 2009, the government, exercising provisions of Delhi Degradable Plastic Bags (Manufacturing, Sales and Usage) and Garbage (Controlled) Act-2000, had forbidden sales, storage and use of all kinds of plastic bags in certain notified places.
The notified places included luxury hotels, hospitals, restaurants, all fruits and vegetable outlets of Mother Dairy, liquor vends, shopping malls, local shopping centers and all retail and wholesale outlets of branded chain of outlets selling different consumer products including fruits and vegetables.
Officials said authorities like civic bodies, NDMC and Environment Department will implement the decision.
"No person shall (be allowed) to manufacture, store, import, sell or transport any kind of plastic carry bags (including that of Poly Propelene, Non-woven fabric type carry bags) in the whole of National Capital Territory of Delhi except for export purposes," an official said.
The member secretary of Delhi Pollution Control Committee will be tasked to ensure overall monitoring and implementation of the decision.
Currently, around 400 plastic bag manufacturing units are operating in the city and the total yearly turnover of these units is in the range of Rs 800 crore to Rs 1,000 crore, an industry expert said.
As per earlier notification, no person was permitted to manufacture, stock, distribute or sell any carry bag made of virgin or recycled plastic of less than 40 microns in thickness.
The decision to enforce the blanket ban on plastic bags came a day after the government decided to ban gutka products in the city.