Shimla: Keeping in view the harmful effects of polythene and plastic on environment, the Himachal Pradesh government has imposed a blanket ban on use of plastic carry bags and plastic items having one-time use, such as disposable plastic cups, glasses and plates, which are made of non-biodegradable material from August 15.
Though the step has been taken to curb use and indiscriminate littering of polythene/plastic carry bags and plastic cups, glasses and plates by shopkeepers, vendors, rehriwalas/chhabawala to prevent choking of drains, sewerage and polluting soil, water and air, the decision is already being seen with skepticism. Firstly, Himachal was among the first states to ban recycled polythene bags in January 1999, but it has not been enforced properly till date.
The recent statement by Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh that replacing polythene bags with paper was not an eco-friendly solution, has anyway dampened the state’s plan to ban all non-biodegradable one-time usage of plastic.
The state government had enacted the Himachal Pradesh Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act in 1995 with a view to prevent throwing or depositing non-bio-degradable garbage in public drains, roads and places open to public view and to regulate the use of non bio-degradable material in the state. However, nearly 15 years later, dams and rivers in the state still get clogged with plastic.
Experts have expressed apprehensions that banning polythene bags is no solution as, in a way, it hints at the failure of solid-waste management by local bodies. It is no secret that the state government has failed to implement its earlier decisions on polythene ban, so another directive may be taken with even less seriousness by people.