Dec 22 deadline to stop manufacture of plastic bags in Delhi

Dec 22 deadline to stop manufacture of plastic bags in Delhi

The Delhi government has set a deadline of December 22 to stop manufacture, sale and storage of plastic bags in the national capital.

Top officials in the Environment department said traders involved in production and sale of plastic bags have been ordered to dismantle their manufacturing facilities.

The order has been issued as per a government decision to impose blanket ban on manufacture, sale, storage and use of plastic bags in the city.

"The complete ban on manufacture, sale, storage and use of plastic bags in the city will come into effect from December 22," a senior official said.

The city government had decided to impose the ban on September 11 and a notification for implementation of the decision was issued last week.

Officials said the use of plastic cover/pouch to pack magazines, invitation cards and greeting cards will also be prohibited.

Green groups have been demanding a blanket ban on plastic bags in the capital for long.

Following a Delhi High Court order, the government had in January 2009 imposed a ban on the use of plastic bags in various markets, shopping malls, hotels and hospitals but it has not produced the desired result.

The government has now imposed the ban as per provision of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, under which violators could face imprisonment up to five years and fine of up to Rs one lakh or both.

Officials said plastic bags have been causing blockage of sewerage network resulting in serious health-related problems.

They said the government took the decision as the existing ban on plastic bags, which did not include manufacturing activities, had not produced the desired result.

As per the decision, 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 for use, as specified under the BioMedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, will not be covered under the ban.

In 2009, the government exercising provisions of Delhi Degradable Plastic Bags (Manufacturing, Sales and Usage) and Garbage (Controlled) Act 2000, had forbidden sale, storage and use of all kinds of plastic bags in certain notified places.

The notified places included luxury hotels, hospitals, restaurants, all fruits and vegetable outlets of Mother Dairy, liquor vends, shopping malls, local shopping centres and all retail and wholesale outlets of branded chain of outlets selling different consumer products including fruits and vegetables.

"No person shall (be allowed) to manufacture, store, import, sell or transport any kind of plastic carry bags (including that of Polypropylene, Non-woven fabric type carry bags) in the whole of National Capital Territory of Delhi except for export purposes," an official said.

The member secretary of Delhi Pollution Control Committee will be tasked to ensure overall monitoring and implementation of the decision.

Currently, around 400 plastic bag manufacturing units are operating in the city and the total yearly turnover of these units is in the range of Rs 800 crore to Rs 1,000 crore, an industry expert said.