Simply banning plastic bags no solution to problem: NGOsMarch 18th, 2010 - 6:04 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Playing down the Delhi civic agency’s “no plastic” campaign, environmental NGOs here said that simply seizing plastic bags from shopkeepers and putting a ban on these will not solve the problem of plastic pollution, which is a serious environment hazard.
Ravi Agarwal, director of the NGO Toxics Link, said: “Around 1.5 million tonnes of plastic is being used by our nation every year. Plastic has been around for too long but sudden raids by civic bodies for a limited period of time will not bring any change”.
The health department of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), in a bid to stop the usage of plastic, has been going on a “Say no to Plastic Bags” drive and seized a large chunk of such bags from shopkeepers.
Anand Tiwari, a spokesperson of NDMC, said: “This is an ongoing campaign for a few months. Recently we seized around 15 kg of plastic bags from Sarojini market, Connaught Place, Netaji Nagar Market, Begum Zaidi Market, Moti Bagh and East Kidwai Nagar Market”.
The civic agency has also issued circulars to restaurants and other places, forbidding the use of plastic bags.
Agarwal, however, said that merely seizing plastic bags offers only a temporary solution to a deep-rooted problem.
“For instance, the Environment Protection Act, 1986, which says that violators will face imprisonment of up to five years and fine up to Rs.100,000 is not practical. In 23 years, there has hardly been any violator caught,” Agarwal told IANS.
“Without wasting time with such ineffective acts, civic authorities should educate the shopkeepers and consumers about the effects of plastic bags. They should be encouraged to adopt other alternatives like jute bags and paper bags, otherwise, despite being seized, plastic bags will come back after some time,” he added.
According to studies by the Plastic Development Council under the department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, India will emerge as the third biggest consumer of plastics in the world by this year end.
Vimlendhu Jha of the NGO Swecha said: “The plastic menace is killing Delhi slowly. Around 8,000 tonnes of garbage is been thrown across Delhi in a day, most of them bio-degradable. Almost 12 landfills are shut in Delhi and the three in Balaswa, Ghazipur and Okhla are almost overflowing”.
Stressing the need for spreading awareness amongst the common man, he said: “On an average, every household uses 10 to 12 plastic bags everyday. The rampant use of plastic bags is destroying the capital’s environment and also choking the water systems”.
On a different take, Ravi K. Aggarwal, president of All India Plastic Industries Association (AIPIA), said: “The threat posed to the environment by the use of plastic items has been blown out of proportion”.
“Among the total waste generated in Delhi, only five percent is plastic and of this, one percent comes from plastic bags. In fact paper bags, which are the nearest substitute for plastic bags, are not eco-friendly because many trees are cut for the purpose of paper making,” he said.
“Instead of seizing plastic bags from shops and markets, the civic body should therefore concentrate on collecting the segregated waste and insist that people use degradable plastic bags,” the AIPIA president said.
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Tags: bagh, circulars, civic authorities, civic bodies, connaught place, environment protection act, environmental ngos, health department, jute bags, kidwai, ndmc, paper bags, petrochemicals, plastic bags, plastic pollution, sudden raids, temporary solution, toxics link, violator, wasting time