CHENNAI: A month after single-use plastics were banned in the State, the government is looking to empower civic bodies to penalise offenders. A Government Order, giving powers to local bodies to levy penalties, is likely to be issued by Thursday.
A decision in this regard was taken at a review meeting held on Monday, chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. After the meeting, senior officials, who were a part of it, told Express that some fine tuning — on the quantum of penalty and classification of violators — is yet to be done, following which the order would be issued by the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department.
Since January 1, authorities have served notices to 2.26 lakh commercial establishments, conducted 69,000 inspections and raids and seized over 500 tonnes of banned plastic items.
Sources said that to ensure adherence, hefty penalty has been mooted. Maharastra, for example, is imposing fines of up to Rs 25,000 and a three-month sentence on regular offenders. First and second-time offenders, meanwhile are fined Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000.Similarly hefty fines are likely here.
Fake eco-friendly bag makers are being monitored: Officials
"We are happy with the progress made so far. Traders and people alike are conscious of the harms of using plastic bags and other banned items. Once, the penalty and Extended Producer's Responsibility (EPR) is introduced, the problem of illegal trade and multi-layer plastics can be addressed, to a greater extent," a senior bureaucrat said. TN has 666 urban bodies and 12,500 panchayats, who will be empowered to penalise violators.
A senior TNPCB official said continuous monitoring of circulation of fake compostable bags was on. "Already, four manufacturing units have been closed in and around Chennai. Pertaining to multi-layered and tetra packaging, the manufacturers, or brand owners, or producers need to submit their EPR plan, which involves modalities of a waste collection system, to the urban development body for approval. So far, we have not received EPR proposals," the official said.