Plastic Ban Just on Paper

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  • Plastic Poly Bags cause serious harm to the environment and health.

A blanket ban on polythene bags was announced in Uttar Pradesh in 2016. Initially clamp down on sale-purchase and usage of polythene bags was visible but within a few months it has fizzled out. With a total lack of enforcement, polythene bags are back with a bang and with a vengeance! A report by Shivam Agnihotri of :

2000 Plastic Poly Bag Factories operating in UP

There are more than 200 manufacturing units in Uttar Pradesh which produce polythene bags of various kinds. Lucknow alone has 100 to 150 such units. These factories are either not registered or they don’t follow any norms specified for them. The estimated production of polythene bags and plastic packaging material in U.P. is around 2 to 4 Lac ton every year. As there is no system of regulated recycling, most of this huge dump of plastic and polythene bags wreak havoc on the environment.

No Action against the Offenders

Sale and use of plastic bags of less than the authorized amount of microns, is prohibited but such plastic bags are openly manufactured, sold and used. Enforcement of rules and regulations is the responsibility of Pollution Control Board and Municipal Corporations, but they are least interested in doing their jobs. A wholesaler of Aminabad, Lucknow informed that poly bags of 50 micron or above are not prohibited but all sort of poly bags are freely available in the market. 

Harmful Effects of Poly Bags

Plastic poly bags of 40 or less microns have serious harmful health and environment effects. Most of these end up in the dump sites after use which seriously affects the environment and the stray animals are also at risk. Cows end up being the easy victim of these polybags as they eat up these along with other edible things and ultimately die. Some production companies mix additive materials in the plastic to make them more flexible and durable which ultimately harms the users. Plastic bags slowly release chemicals into food items stored in them which lead to very harmful effect on consumers.

Rules are not being followed

Plastic Waste Management Act, was implemented on 18th March, 2016. This act has provision for penalty on anyone manufacturing or storing plastic bags. As with any other law or rules, enforcement is the key of success which is completely missing.

A word with Officials

According to Lucknow’s DM Koshal Raj Sharma all the people involved in the business of plastic poly bag production are being checked and defaulters are being penalized. Manufacturing units are being sealed.

Environment Officer Pankaj Uppadhayay says that action is being taken against those units who manufacture poly bags of less than 50 microns. However, he could only tell about a single action in the last one and a half year. He said that a raid was conducted at a Mall in Lucknow in January 2016 where fine was imposed on big retail stores.

Environment and Pollution Control Board, Director Sanjeev Upadhaya informed about the actions that are being taken against the defaulters. He said that a team is being formed which will include officers from Municipal Corporation, Pollution Control Board and Police. This team will start conducting raids by August, 2017.

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