Delhi to launch campaign against single-use plastic, focus on bags
Law Doesn’t Ban All Forms Of Single-Use Plastic Above 50-Micron Thickness
New Delhi: A major awareness campaign is likely to be launched throughout the capital by mid-September to discourage people from using single-use plastic, a major source of pollution.
Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repeated requests to people to shun single-use plastic, the central government is yet to clarify whether it will soon bring a law to ban this variety of plastic completely. The existing laws don’t ban all forms of single-use plastic items thicker than 50 microns.
Delhi government’s campaign will begin with an enforcement action to check the use of plastic bags below 50 microns, already banned in the capital. Its violation invites a fine of Rs 5,000 and imprisonment. In the past few years, the authorities have tried to implement the ban but not in a sustained manner.
The campaign will involve the 11 district magistrates and various stakeholders, such as manufacturers, consumers, vendors and students, to generate awareness about the harmful impact of single-use plastic. “We will also try to distribute cotton bags among vendors to encourage them to adopt alternatives,” said an official. The final date of the launch is yet to be decided.
The government has already received an advisory from the central government about curbing the use of such plastic items. The advisory outlines various activities, including identifying and engaging key stakeholder groups, raising public awareness about the harmful nature of single-use plastic items, promoting alternatives, providing incentives to industry and recycling, and enforcing the ban and monitoring it.
A meeting was held at Delhi Secretariat on Friday to chalk out the course of action. Delhi government has decided to write to the Centre to find out about its next steps. A source said the Centre might impose a nationwide ban on singleuse plastic from October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The ban will end the use of plastic bags, cups, plates, small bottles, straws and many other items, he added. In his Independence Day speech, PM Modi had urged people and government agencies to take steps to free the country of single-use plastic.
While it has been more than three years since the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, came into effect, Delhi has still not notified the bylaws. A corporation official said the draft bylaws had already been forwarded to the urban development department of Delhi government.
The draft was last updated in August. As of now, the National Green Tribunal judgement of 2017 that banned plastic bags less than 50 microns form the core punitive tool for the civic bodies. The corporations claimed to have seized 3,000kg plastic of less than 50 microns in the first half of August itself. Since August 2017, the south and east corporations have seized around 10,327.7kg plastic and issued 2,780 challans. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation is chalking out a plan to declare its headquarters a plastic-free zone.
A Central Pollution Control Board report stated in 2015 that Delhi was producing around 689.52 tonnes of plastic every day. It is estimated that 80% of this plastic is not recycled and ends up in landfills and drains. Most of the plastic packaging material, including milk, juice, shampoo and oil pouches, are more than 50 microns.
plastic seized by corporations since then issued of plastic waste in Delhi single-use of plastic waste generated in Delhi every day, says a CPCB report in 2015 of it not recycled