SUBJECT :Complete ban on polythene bags 

Chandigarh, July 30
In an
environment-friendly decision, which is sure to raise the hackles of the plastic bag manufacturers, the Chandigarh administration today decided to make the city "plastic-free" from Gandhi Jayanti — October 2.

However, unlike other places in India, including parts of Himachal Pradesh, the administration wants a complete ban with polybags of all thickness being banned.

"No person, including shopkeeper, vendor, wholeseller, retailer, trader, hawker or rehriwala, will be allowed the use of polythene/plastic carry bags for supply of goods in them," a notification said here.

The notification makes it clear that no person will manufacture, store, import, sell or transport polythene/plastic carry bags in UT.

Earlier, the administration had invited objections from persons likely to be affected from the aforesaid decision by publishing a draft notification in February 2008.

Objections and suggestions received within 60 days were considered by the administration. Sources said today's decision seemed to be well-timed to conform to the decision of the union health ministry to launch a no-smoking ban all over the country from October 2.

In fact, moving cautiously, the administration seemed to have waited for Chandigarh Plastic Manufacturers and Traders Association to resort to legal action first.

The association fell into the trap and moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court which declined a stay while fixing the next date of hearing for October 22.

Meanwhile, the complaints relating to the use, storage, import, selling, transportation and disposal of the polythene/plastic carry bags in UT will be entertained under Section 19 of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986.

The implementating officers include DC, director environment, SDMs, joint commissioner I and II, Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), district food and supply officer, inspectors of the food and supply department, medical officer health of the MCC, sanitary inspectors and food inspectors of the health department. The DC will act as the coordinator to implement the above orders.

Member secretary, Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee, will act as the coordinator to implement the ban on the manufacturing of polythene/plastic carry bags in the UT.

Terming the decision as "anti-people", senior vice-president of the association Anand Syal alleged that the cost of paper bags would be passed on to consumers.

What is banned

All polythene bags irrespective of the thickness will be banned in the city.

The plastic ban is touted as another environment-friendly decision of the administration.

However, the consumers will have to pay more for the paper bags as they will cost about five times more than the plastic bags.

Source: Pradeep Sharma Tribune News Service