LUCKNOW: For the third time in past three years, Uttar Pradesh government has banned polythene and plastic from Sunday.
Though the government was yet to get Governor Ram Naik's approval on the Ordinance to be promulgated for the ban, officials here have prepared themselves for a crackdown on the offenders from Monday.
UP became the 19th state in the country to ban polythene.
Though it had taken the step earlier as well, the government failed to formulate any rule leading to its failure. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pledged to make India free of single-use plastic by 2022, and the majority of India's 29 states have implemented a full or partial ban.
A senior government official told UNI here on Sunday that the Ordinance has been prepared but as the Governor was out of Lucknow due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, hence it would be approved by tonight.
This time initiating strict action on the offenders, the government has proposed fine up to Rs 1 lakh and 6 months jail for the violators.
As per the government's initiative on Sunday, all polythene below 50 micron has been banned while from August 15 next, all plastics and thermocols including cup and plates would be banned.
In the last phase from October 2, 2018, all type of plastic and polythene disposals would be banned.
Meanwhile, state Urban Development Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said here on Sunday that the government was committed to banning all types of polythene to preserve the environment.
"The government would be very strict on implementing its order and none would be spared violating the norms," he said to the media here.
On November 18, 2015, the Allahabad High Court had directed the state government to issue a notification enforcing a complete ban on the sale of polythene across the state by the end of that year.
In December 2015, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet approved a complete statewide ban on the distribution, manufacture, and sale of polythene carry bags of 40 microns thickness and below.
Seeking to make UP an environment-friendly place, the government decided to implement the order on January 21, 2016, a month after the court's direction to prohibit the use of plastics.
The ban was reinforced in 2017 but once again authorities failed to stop the polythene bag flow into the cities.
The current order by the government comes following in the footsteps of Maharashtra government which enforced a similar ban after issuing the Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (manufacture, usage, sale, transport, handling, and storage) notification in March this year.
The Maharashtra government banned plastic from June 23 last and announced that it would fine Rs 5,000 for the first offence, Rs 10,000 for the second, and up to Rs 25,000 and a three-month jail term for repeated violations.
Meanwhile, UP BJP has hailed Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for banning the use of plastic material and promoting the afforestation in a big way across the state.
The BJP said the ban on the use of plastic and call for ''one person one tree'' affirms the commitment of the chief minister for the clean environment and keeping the rivers clean.
"The rampant use of plastic is not only causing pollution, it is degrading the fertility of the soil besides causing the problem of water logging in urban areas every year during the monsoon.
Plastic is not only a problem in urban areas it's also causing pollution in rural areas while burning of plastic is also hugely adding to the air pollution and global warming," said BJP spokesperson Chandramohan.
Like in other Indian states, plastic pollution has been a major contributor to pollution of UP's rivers and urban areas are often strewn with plastic bags and bottles.
UP government had also declared the area around the Taj Mahal, a plastic-free zone.