Unable to strictly enforce the ban on plastic and weed it out of markets and shopping malls, the Delhi Environment Department has warned that strict action would be taken against violators.
As per the January 7 directive of the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor, use of plastic is forbidden in five-star and four-star hotels, hospitals with 100 or more beds (except for use of plastic bags as prescribed under the Bio-Medical Waste Management and Handling Rules, 1998), all restaurants and eating places with a seating capacity for more than 50 people, all fruit and vegetable outlets of Mother Dairy, shopping malls and small and large-scale retail outlets. In places other than these, only bio-degradable plastic is to be used.
“It has been brought to our notice that plastic bags are still used in main markets, local shopping centres and in major or branded outlets/chain of stores,’’ said M. Dwarakanath of the Environment Department.
He said violation was happening on the pretexts that the bags are more than 40 micros or that they are bio-degradable.
“This is in total disregard to the Delhi Government’s notification which clearly states that this is a violation. Hence we would like to clarify to all dispensers/users of plastic bags that no plastic bags can be used in main markets and local shopping centres and in major or branded outlets/chain of stores,’’ noted the warning issued by the Department.
The Department in its notice said only jute, cloth or recycled paper bags are to be used. Also, in other than the notified places, only bio-degradable/compostable bags complying to IS: BIS: 17088 are to be used.
Vinod Jain of Tapas, a non-government organisation, that has been heading the campaign against use of plastic in the Capital, said: “We had welcomed the move and later warned the Environment Department of the blatant violation of the notification. We need to have in place strict measure to ensure that the compliance rate is kept high to actually benefit from the ban. Rules need to be implemented well to bear fruit. Getting aggressive about enforcing the ban is also required in our preparation for hosting the Commonwealth Games next year.’’