ROURKELA: Rourkela may soon get relief from harmful plastic. Although a delayed move, the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMS) has started work on banning plastic bags below 50 microns and penalise violators.
At present, the RMC has no mechanism to segregate harmful plastic waste from municipal solid waste (MSW) and its safe disposal remains a challenge. As per laid down guidelines, the onus lies with the RMC to ensure segregation, collection, storage, transportation, processing and safe disposal of plastic waste.
Sources said the RMC has recently notified to impose ban on harmful plastic products and an awareness campaign was conducted. Another round awareness campaign will be done using public address system and meeting with targeted groups before enforcing the ban from end of this month.
RMC Commissioner, AK Mallick said a concrete action plan is ready to enforce ban on the highly non-biodegradable plastic products of less than 50 microns.
He said shortly a meeting would be held with authorities of the Odisha State Pollution Board (OSPCB) before going for strict enforcement. He added that the minimum fine for violators is `5,000 and the RMC primarily would target distributors, suppliers and retailers.
In the past, no serious enforcement was ever made. However, the civic body is under pressure to act now after the notification of the new Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 and the city getting Smart City tag. The Commissioner said only after prior permission from competent authorities and against certain fees, shop-keepers would be allowed to deal in plastic products of prescribed standards. He said awareness would be created on use of paper bags.
The city generates about 100 tonnes of domestic waste including 30 to 40 percent plastic waste.