Ban disposable bottles: HC

In a bid to free Nilgiris district from the menace caused by plastic products, the Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Collector to prohibit entry of all kinds of plastic packages, including use and throw plastic bottles to carry water, soft drinks and fruit juices.

A Division Bench of Justices N. Sathish Kumar and P.T. Asha also directed the government to establish adequate number of Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purifying plants across the district in order to quench the thirst of the people and also dissuade them from using and throwing the plastic bottles in public places.

The Collectors of Nilgiris as well as Coimbatore were ordered to deploy sufficient manpower at all entry points to the hillstation for confiscating the plastic products. The interim orders were passed on a public interest litigation petition filed by G. Subramanian Koushik, a 74-year-old resident of Ooty.

In his affidavit, the petitioner, a retired employee of Hindustan Photo Films, stated that Nilgiris was one of the most popular tourist destination, which attracts around 50 lakh tourists every year owing to its pleasant weather, natural landscapes and wildlife.

A direct consequence of such huge inflow was generation of solid waste, especially plastics.

“Plastic packaging of food products, bottled water, soft drinks and juices in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and other plastic containers are freely available and used by both the locals and tourists and are thrown about recklessly everywhere not only spoiling the beauty of the hills but also adding to the landfill in the district,” he said.

The petitioner claimed that the plastic waste gets deposited in the soil strata, produce leachates, causing irreversible damage to the soil composition and ecosystem in general. “Wild animals also consume this plastic waste causing health hazards and sometimes their death. Several cases of mortality of endangered wildlife have been reported,” he said.

No mechanism in place

Stating that no proper and systematic collection and disposal mechanism had been put in place to deal with the plastic wastes, Mr. Koushik said they ultimately find their way into landfills or get burnt producing toxic effluents and fumes affecting the quality of the environment and the health of the residents.

If left unchecked, the problem of plastic bottles could lead to accumulation of volumes beyond the carrying capacity of the hills and result in deterioration of the beauty of the hills, the petitioner said and urged the court to forthwith ban entry of plastic bottles and as well as other plastic packaging materials in to the district.

He said the district administration could insist on installation of RO plants in all hotels, restaurants and eateries and it could also establish such plants in public places, besides educating the people about the need to bring their own reusable containers to carry water, juices and other food items.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 7:17:35 PM |

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