NOIDA: In a bid to reduce plastic usage in the city, the Noida Authority now wants to help citizens break the plastic bag habit. Starting July 4, the Authority will start distributing free-of-cost cotton cloth bags to citizens and fruits or vegetable vendors.
The drive will kick-start with the distribution of more than 500 cloth bags from Harola market in Sector 4 of the city. Later, the entire city will be covered.
Currently, at least 10 per cent of all litter from the city constitutes plastic, adding up to around 40-50 tons per day.
To make the ‘Say No To Plastic’ drive a success, the Authority has roped in a host of NGOs to create awareness about the negative impact of single-use plastic bags and the benefits of switching to more sustainable alternatives.
“Plastic bags often lead to soil degradation and do not allow groundwater percolation. With the support of the public and trade bodies, we want to make a significant difference to the environment for the future generations,” said Alok Tandon, Noida Chairperson and CEO.
Despite a ban imposed on plastic in the city, its usage, especially polythene, is still rampant. “We realized that without providing an alternative, people will not ditch the toxic material. Thus, we decided to distribute the cloth bags for individuals, shopkeepers and vendors,” Tandon said.
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“We will conduct awareness and educative campaigns to inform the public about the hazards of the use of polythene and its dangers to health and environment. Pollution control officials and district administration will help us. More than the consumers, it is necessary for the vendors to switch to eco-friendly bags,” he added.
Currently, there is a provision of a penalty of Rs 5,000 for using a plastic carry bag of 40 microns and below thickness. Stricter fines will be levied on repeat offenders, officials said, adding that businesses can also be banned from carrying out commercial business.
Slow but steady action
Nov 18, 2015: The Allahabad high court directed the state government to ban the use and sale of polythene bags across UP.
Dec 18, 2015: The state decided to ban the manufacture, import, purchase and storage of all kinds of plastic bags.
Dec 23, 2015: Govt issued a notification to this effect banning plastic use from January 21.