Little over a year after a total ban on sale and use of polythene was imposed in the millennium city, things are back to square one.
Thanks to an inert civic administration and inoperative enforcement, polythene has made a return, proliferating with a vengeance across the shops, business establishments, roadside vend and markets in Cuttack. All the good work done in the last one and a half years have been undone in a snatch.
According to sources, the recent period of turmoil in Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC), which has been rendered headless, without a Commissioner at the helm, has brought every activity, including the polythene control drive, to an absolute standstill. The raids and checks on production and sale of polythene have ceased prompting the shop-keepers and the vendors to go back to the old ways.
While the reemergence of the menace has raised concern, use of non-woven type of bags, which are being pushed as alternatives to the polythene, have also come under scanner. The bags, which appear to be non-polythene and biodegradable in texture, are actually polythene and as much hazardous. The Delhi Government has also included these bags in the prohibited list as these contain Polypropylene to the tune of 98.3 per cent, which is non-biodegradable.
There is a need to aggressively promote the age-old practice of using cloth and jute bags. Alternatives in the form of environment-friendly bio-polymer materials, which are totally bio-degradable, should instead be adopted by the malls, shops and business establishments using polythene bags, sources said.
Meanwhile, as the civic body continues to be in a limbo, the Cuttack district administration has decided to step in to contain the menace, particularly in view of a steep increase in polythene use during the ensuing Puja season. With lakhs of people thronging the city through the festive period and indulging in feasting, shopping and merrymaking, polythene use would increase.
The administration has thus sought to make the Puja Committees partners in the efforts to prohibit use of the banned items.
“We have asked all the Puja Committees and the Shanti Committees not to use nor allow sale of products in polythene in their vicinity. We have also sought their cooperation in sensitising the public to shun polythene. Special squads will also be formed in association with CMC to intensify drive against polythene during the Puja festivities”, Collector Girish S N said.