Polythene banned, but on papers only!

S.SHEKHAR. Updated: 1/11/2019 11:12:16 AM Front Page

40% of City’s 400 MTs daily garbage is polythene

JAMMU: Despite of a complete ban in Jammu & Kashmir, the illegal manufacturing, sale and use of polythene continues unabated in the entire State, due to unholy nexus of some corrupt officials of concerned departments and highly influential persons involved in the illicit trade.

The major trouble created by this illegal business is clogging of drains in several areas of the otherwise congested Winter Capital City, where population has increased significantly in the last few years while the residential areas and market places remain the same as well as the lanes and roads also didn’t change in any way.

Official sources informed The News Now that the abandoned polythene bags have not only become a serious environmental and health hazard but a big challenge for the municipal body to maintain sanitation in Jammu city.

“More than 400 Metric Tons of garbage is lifted by the JMC in the Winter Capital city daily, which contains over 40% polythene material including carry bags, wrappers, packaging stuff etc,” they said.
“Polythene remains stuck in the drains leading to their blockage and unhygienic conditions, that can be seen in almost every part of the city,” they said, adding, “Actually polythene carry bags are being used by not only the small vendors but it’s also in use by the big showroom owners and retailers etc.”

Surprisingly, a majority of vendors and consumers are still seen using these environmental unfriendly bags and its usage varies widely across segments with a large percentage of vegetable and fruit, besides, meat and fish vendors using these bags and a very small percentage of large food joints and multi-brands using it. The polythene usage is also high among the small food joints like rehriwalas and dhabas (roadside temporary food vendors). However, very few milk booths, chemist and stationery shops were found using plastic carry bags, whereas the effectiveness of ban is mixed among the clothing and other showrooms.

“Even as thousands of kgs of polythene has been seized by J&K State Pollution Control Board and Jammu Municipal Corporation inspection teams separately but there is no permanent mechanism to conduct regular inspections in the markets to check its blatant use by the small vendors and showroom owners at a large scale,” the official sources said, adding, “More so, the JMC has no provision for recycling of waste polythene recovered from the garbage etc as it is being dumped in the open ground.”
“We are under staff and this is the reason that we at our own level unable to conduct frequent inspections. However, we have been successful in seizing approximately 450 kgs of banned polythene both carry bags and packaging material last month in Jammu district only,” said Badar Hussain, Divisional Officer, J&K SPCB, while talking to The News Now over the issue.

“It’s not just our department’s responsibility but near about 17 to 18 government departments are involved in it,” he said, adding, “All of us are doing our bit and thousands of kgs of polythene has been recovered by different departments at different places in Jammu, which is a continuous process.”

When asked why the ban on polythene couldn’t be implemented in a proper way, the SPCB officer said, “Our office has issued strict warnings to the traders and manufacturers of polythene from time to time and there is significant decrease in its local production but unfortunately, it’s smuggled polythene from outside the State, which is in use at present.”

Pankaj Magotra, Commissioner, JMC, was not available for his comments over the issue despite of repeated attempts.

It’s pertinent to mention here that the State Government first notified a blanket ban on polythene carry bags in June 2008 under J&K Non-Biodegradable Material (Management, Handling & Disposal) Act, 2007 but in March 2016, ban on polythene bags having thickness above 50 microns was lifted and permitted for manufacturing and usage. Due to growing concern of environmental degradation by polythene, the then Government in the State issued SRO 45 in the month of February, 2017 and authorized J&K SPCB and concerned departments for implementation of ban on polythene.

Later, the Government re-imposed the blanket ban on below 50 micron thickness polythene carry bags in April 2017 but unfortunately it remained in the papers only. Moreover, keeping in view the unabated use of banned polythene in the State, the Jammu & Kashmir High Court had also issued orders in April 2018 for strict execution of ban and then the Forest Department also issued a notification banning the use of polythene carry bags.

In the latest notification, the ban has also been imposed on manufacture, stocking, distribution, sale and use of polythene carry bags, plastic sheets or like, covers made of plastic sheet, plastic packaging and multi-layered packaging less than 50 microns thickness within the territorial limits of the State.
Updated On 1/11/2019 11:24:37 AM

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