NEW DELHI: Four months ago, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) enforced a blanket ban on plastic bags in the national capital, but agencies are struggling to execute the tribunal’s order, resulting in their extensive usage.
“We have to think practically. We cannot make the market totally plastic-free. We are doing our best to minimise the use of plastic bags,” said Puja Kalra, counsel for North and South MCD. She added that large shops were being focused on as it was difficult to impose the ban on hawkers and street vendors.
“Roadside vendors do not stay at one place. It is difficult to locate them, and even if we challan them, they do not pay the fine,” she said. The only thing the civic body can do is to “educate them about the ills of using plastic”.
The NGT directed the three MCDs, Delhi Pollution Control Board, Delhi government and police to strictly impose the ban. However, municipal corporations say they are looking to ‘minimalise’ usage of plastic bags in their respective areas due to practical concerns.
As per the orders, the agencies were told to make at least one market plastic free. After consultation and consensus among all agencies, Greater Kailash II market has been chosen to be plastic-free.
The civic bodies are also trying to address waste management. “Earlier we didn’t have land for a waste management plant. Now we have land and we floated tenders for the same but have failed twice,” Kalra said.
About action taken on manufacturers of plastic, Kalra said, “Once it comes to our notice that the Delhi Pollution Control Committee has pulled up a manufacturer, we cancel its license and it can no longer manufacture plastic.”
“Availability of plastic is the biggest loophole in the entire ban. Agencies have to work together to make this a success. The ban has brought in a sense of ear among majority of shopkeepers,” said Ravi Aggarwal of Toxic Links.
“We give customers plastic bags that we buy from wholesale markets. If we refuse or charge them for non-plastic bags, they move on to other vendor” said Vijay Kumar, a grocery seller in New Friends Colony.
Market associations such as Chandni Chowk blame street vendors for using plastic. “Big shopkeepers here don’t use plastic at all. Street vendors use them, and nzo amount of awareness changes their mindset,” said Sanjay Jain, general secretary of the Chandini Chowk Traders’ Association.
29% of plastic bag users are fruit and vegetable vendors
25% are small food joints
78% consumers use plastic bags
80% people prefer plastic bags due
to their easy availability
61% prefer them due to convenience
89% consumers throw plastic bags in bins
Bags are made in Mongolpuri, Narela and Bawana
*Study by NGO
6,478 kg plastic bags seized
Fines: Rs 9.20 lakh
3,500 kg plastic bags seized
Fines: Rs 7.50 lakh
834 kg of plastic bags seized
Fines: Rs 7 lakh