Does the Ban on Plastic Work in India?
The penalty if anyone is caught using polythene of any kind or thickness will face a fine up to Rs 100,000 or jailed for up to five years.
This seems to be a positive move to salvage the environment and avoid clogging of drains and plastic debris scattered at River Yamuna, but the penalty for using a plastic bag is far more as compared to other serious offences.
Besides, how well will it be implemented remains to be seen, when you cite examples of other states who have failed to enforce the ban on plastic.
After the deluge of 26/7, plastic was banned in Mumbai because choking of drains and sewage led to water-logging. But this ban remained only on paper, as the authorities failed miserably to impose the ban.
Polythene bags are still easily available in Mumbai and used by restaurants, shops, malls etc., although the ban still remains on use of plastic bags below 20 micron thickness. Other places like Goa, which was the first state to impose the ban in 1998, didn’t succeed in getting rid of polythene.
How plastic harms the environment?
- Plastic bags clog gutters and storm drains, causing water and sewage to overflow
- Plastics are made out of petroleum and natural gas, increasing our dependence on fossil fuel supplies. Around 4% to 8% of the entire world’s oil is used in the production of plastics
- It pollutes rivers and oceans, and also harms the marine life
- Plastic takes thousands of years to decompose
In Bangalore, using plastic bags below 20 microns was prohibited in 2002, but neither the regulation is being followed by public and nor is there any monitoring of its usage.
While only success so far has been in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, where plastic pollution has come down after the ban. At most of these tourist places, you find the outsiders or tourists littering more garbage then the locals.
During our trip to Hemkund Sahib in Uttaranchal, Sikh pilgrim place over 15,200 ft in the Himalayas, we saw plastic bags and bottles dumped outside the Gurudwara. So more then the locals the tourists need to be educated about the damage done to the environment with plastic.
Why can’t India have a nation wide ban on use of plastic, instead of individual states imposing their respective law and penalties? That would have more impact then giving the local municipal body to carry out the monitoring or empower them to impose the law. We all know how power is misused here.
Here’s a fresh video more than three years after the ban on plastic bags has been enforced, the use of plastic bags are now more rampant than ever.
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