Declining to give any relief to traders from its earlier order of imposing ban on plastic carry bags and allied material, the Chandigarh Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal has directed complete prohibition on use of plastic, particularly carry bags in Panchkula, Mohali, Zirakpur, Mullanpur, Dera Bassi, New Chandigarh and Pinjore at the first instance.

Justice Swatanter Kumar, Chairperson of the Bench in his order said, “There is a lot of generation of plastic waste which is causing pollution in and around Chandigarh. The Chandigarh Administration has already banned the use of plastic carry bags vide its notification dated July 30, 2008. The validity of the notification was challenged before the Tribunal and vide its judgment dated August 8, 2013, passed in application No. 26 of 2013 (THC) – Goodwill Plastic Industries Vs. U.T. Chandigarh and application No. 53 of 2013 – Jarnail Singh Vs. U.T. Chandigarh, these petitions have been dismissed”

“Thus, for the reasons stated in the judgement and to protect the environment from further degradation, blockages of the drains and other ill-effects on human health, we direct complete prohibition on use of plastic, particularly carry bags in Panchkula, Mohali, Zirakpur, Mullanpur, Dera Bassi, New Chandigarh and Pinjore at the first instance.”

The Bench also issued notice to the states of Punjab and Haryana as to why the use of plastic particularly plastic carry bag was not completely banned in these states. The NGT has fixed the next date of hearing to January 20.

A traders’ body has moved the National Green Tribunal against its order banning the use of bags, plates and glasses made of plastic and allied material. The Chandigarh traders’ body has sought modification of December 4, 2015, order, which prohibited the use of bags, plates or glasses and such allied items made of plastic material in Chandigarh and declared a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone found using or dealing with such material. It has claimed that since there is no ban on the manufacture of plastic products so prohibition on possession and selling of the said products is “discriminatory, unfair and harsh”.

Mohali, Panchkula ready to follow order 
The Deputy Commissioners of Panchkula and Mohali said they would implement the orders in their respective areas once they officially got the copy of the order. TPS Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner of Mohali, said the order would be implemented completely since it was the responsibility of eveyone to reduce pollution. Mandip Singh Brar, Deputy Commissioner of Panchkula, said the order would be implemented in letter and in spirit.

Chandigarh faces tough challenges 
Though the Chandigarh Administration has been carrying out sustained drive against the use of the plastic after the direction of the NGT, yet it has been facing strong resistance from traders. Chandigarh was the first city which imposed a complete ban on plastic carry bag in 2008, but the problem still persists. An officer of the Administration said in the absence of the ban in the tricity they found it tough to impose a complete ban. He said with the NGT direction in toe and well coordinated efforts it was possible to ban the use of plastic completely. 

Source: January 16, 2016, The Tribune