The Mangalore City Corporation is going back to imposing fine on the use of thin plastic carry bags, following the recent direction of the Karnataka High Court.

Several plastic manufactures from Mangalore had questioned the order issued by the then Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda in November 2012 banning the use of plastic carry bags, plastic cups, and plastic table spreadsheets.

While observing that the issue needed detailed consideration, High Court Judge A.S. Bopanna in an interim order observed that the district administration “… can only prevent either the petitioners or other such manufacturers or traders from selling plastic products which are less than 40 microns.” The judge has restrained the district administration from preventing the manufacture, selling, and use of plastic products that are more than 40 microns.

In his order of January 15, Judge Bopanna said that fines that had been imposed on certain manufacturers should be limited to plastic bags that were less than 40 microns. Before imposing the fine, authorities need to ascertain the density by calibrating or measuring the plastic carry bag or other plastic products, the judge said.The proposal to ban the use of plastic carry bags was mooted by District In-charge Minister C.T. Ravi, who had the ban enforced in his constituency of Chikmagalur. Following his announcement, the then Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda called a meeting of representatives of civil organisations and plastic manufacturing units. Then Mr. Gowda went ahead to issue an order in November 2012 to ban the use of all types of plastic carry bags, plastic cups, and plastic table spreadsheets. A five-member team was formed to enforce the order. The team was authorised to collect a fine of Rs. 100 and seize the plastic carry bags and other material.

Mangalore City Corporation Commissioner K. Harish Kumar said the administration would press for a ban on the use of plastic before the High Court. Following the interim order, the corporation would now stick to imposing penalty on those manufacturing and using thin bags and cups. “There are many establishments that use thin plastic carry bags,” he said. The team would move around with instruments that measure the thickness of carry bags, he added.

Corporation Environment Engineer Manjunath R. Shetty said the corporation would resume its drive against thin plastic bags shortly.

“The action against the violators this time will be far more severe. If we find users and manufacturers who had been found using thin plastic covers last time, continuing the practice, we will be making a serious note of it,” Mr. Shetty added.

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