Friday, 23 November 2012

Delhi plastic ban in effect from today; thousands of livelihoods at stake

The livelihoods of thousands of people working in various plastic bag manufacturing units in Delhi could be under threat, even as the state government's blanket ban on plastics comes into effect today. 

According to manufacturers, some 400 plastic bag manufacturing units were operating in the city and the total yearly turnover of these units was in the range of Rs. 800 crore to Rs. 1,000 crore.

According to some estimates, roughly one lakh people were employed in these units and would be directly affected by the ban.  

Imposed under the provision of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the ban carries stiff penalties for the violators. According to law, violators could face imprisonment up to five years and fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh or both. 

Use of plastic to pack magazines, invitation cards and greeting cards is also prohibited under the ban.

According to government officials, the ban will initially be focused on plastic carry bags and will not target packaged food and materials. 

Civic bodies such as NDMC, Environment Department and Delhi Pollution Control Committee will implement the ban. 

Earlier, the state government had decided to impose the ban on September 11, a notification for implementation of the decision was issued a month back giving a deadline of November 22 to stop manufacture, sale, storage and use of the plastic bags. 
As per the notification, no person including shopkeepers, vendors, wholesalers, retailers and hawkers will be allowed to sell, store or use plastic carry bags for supply of any goods. 

Plastic carry bags specifically used for handling biomedical wastes will not be covered under the ban. 

State Government had last month ordered traders involved in production of plastic bags to dismantle their manufacturing facilities by the deadline. 

In response, the manufacturers had gone to Delhi high court challenging the notification but the court has yet to pronounce any order on the issue. 

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