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Plastic bags bigger threat than atom bomb: SC

New Delhi, May 7, 2012, DHNS: 2:19 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday sought a reply from the Centre and all state governments on a plea for complete ban on the use of plastic bags in the country, while acknowledging the deleterious effects of such materials on humans and animals.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya decided to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction to implement the rules for disposal of plastic bags.
The bench directed the NGO, Karuna Society for Animals and Nature, to implead plastic bag manufacturers in its petition.

The plea sought directions to all the state governments to ensure that wastes in plastic bags were segregated after collecting from door-to-door basis, thereby putting a check on animals swallowing such materials.

“All the drains in the country are getting choked due to plastic wastes. Unless you demand a mechanism to put a ban on the use of plastics, it is not going to help. Our next generation is sitting on consequences greater than the atomic bomb,” the court said.

The bench advocated the mechanism developed by Bhruhat Bangalore Municipal Palike whereby it is using plastic waste to lay roads.

“You are fighting with greed. One’s greed is taking a toll on others,” the bench said.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the NGO, pointed out that there was no proper segregation of plastic wastes resulting in a continuous interface between animals and plastic bags that have been discarded.

Due to government neglect across the country and animals, particularly cows and bulls, are ingesting plastic from garbage dumps and plastic bags littered across the landscape and oceans.

The ingestion of plastic from plastic bags chokes the stomach of cows and they are filled with plastic waste at times over 50 kg in weight, he said.

“Since the health of human beings is directly impacted by animal products such as milk and meat which are contaminated by plastic residue, the issues raised in this petition directly impact the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” Divan said.

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