High court bans use of plastic bags in Delhi

August 7th, 2008 - 10:43 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday banned the use of plastic bags by shops in the national capital and asked the city government to enforce the ban at the earliest. A division bench of Justice T.S. Thakur asked the Delhi government to issue a notification at the earliest to enforce the ban on the use of plastic bags in markets, malls as well as hotels and hospitals.

The order came on a public interest suit by environmental activist V.K. Jain, who demanded the use of plastic bags be banned, and contended that these were choking drains and leading to collection of dirty water that, in turn, created breeding grounds for disease-spreading vectors.

Jain also cited examples of Germany, Singapore and Bangladesh where the ban on plastic bags has been successfully implemented.

Directing that all the illegally operating recycling units of plastic in the city be shut down, the bench asked the government to apprise the court of the deadline by which it would be able to issue the notification to enforce the ban.

The court imposed the ban despite a government panel earlier telling the court that it was not possible to put a blanket ban on the use of plastic in Delhi as these bags were highly economical and popular among people.

The panel, consisting of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) officials, in its report to the court had put a question mark on the Delhi government’s decision to promote bio-degradable plastic bags.

“Degradable plastics do not decompose naturally on account of the action of micro organisms. Mere disintegration of molecular structure cannot be taken as degradation,” the committee had said.

On Jain’s submission that plastic is banned in several countries, the committee said that “plastic is used worldwide for packaging of medicines, life-saving drugs and a wide range of personnel care products. It can, therefore, be concluded that a blanket ban on use of plastic is not called for.”

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