The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) will soon take action against wholesalers and retailers stocking and selling plastic bags less than 40 microns thick, said Member Secretary K.Karthikeyan.

The drive would be conducted in coordination with the respective local bodies, Mr.Karthikeyan, who took over as TNPCB's Member Secretary recently, told The Hindu here on Monday. “Two years ago we had conducted raids and they [the trade] had said that they will not bring bags that do not conform to the prescribed standards in to the State. Such substandard bags are still being brought in from other States as the cost is less,” he added.

The TNPCB would insist that the manufacturers print the symbol denoting that plastic products, including PET bottles, pipes and carry bags, were recyclable. “Not many are doing this. If the number inside the triangular symbol is between 1 and 7, that means it can be recycled. Awareness about this is very low. We will be creating awareness about this among consumers,” he said.

Manufacturers of plastic carry bags would also be asked to contribute for setting up plastic waste collection and recycling facilities. “Milk sachets, which can be recycled, are not thrown away by people as they get money by selling them.”

Mr. Karthikeyan said bags above 40 microns could also be recycled and therefore people would be interested in collecting and selling them.

The Board plans to join hands with NGOs to spread awareness about the importance of recycling plastics.

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012