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

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

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.

File photo

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

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