Punjab government has decided to issue an ordinance banning use of polythene bags in the state. The ban will come into force from February 1, 2016. Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) chairman Manpreet Singh disclosed that defaulters would be fined Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 depending on the quantity of bags seized.

For a kilogram of polythene seized, the fine would be Rs 500 and polythene bag weighing more than a kilogram would invite a penalty of Rs 1,000.

PPCB chairman elaborated that manufacturing and distribution of polythene bags would be declared illegal and stiff action would be taken against the violators.

Citing the example of neighbouring state, Himachal Pradesh, where the order banning polythene has been fully implemented, he said the programme required participation of people of Punjab.

In a departure from the tradition, the government had made officers of all departments responsible for implementing the ban. Now onwards, the revenue department, police, principals of government schools, tehsildars, sub-divisional mgistrates (SDMs) and government doctors would be roped in for implementation of the ban on polythene.

PPCB had also decided to install three imported equipment in Mandi Gobindgarh, Ludhiana and Amritsar to measure the level of air pollution, which would be passed online to the administration.

Based on the information, the local administration, in cooperation with the PPCB, would be empowered to order shut down of air polluting industrial units. The machines have been procured at a cost of Rs 3 crore to the state.

"Meat plants have also started sifting sludge from blood. The blood is dried and passed on to manufacturers of poultry feed. Dried blood of animals is nutritious for hens when mixed with other constituents," the board chairman said about another initiative of theirs.

Elsewhere in region...

Earlier this month, National Green Tribunal ordered imposing a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone found using or dealing with plastic material in Chandigarh

While Mohali municipal corporation started its drive against polythene bags in August, it has now also decided to target the 'mandis' to cut loose the connection of supply of polythene bags

While there already is a ban on use of plastic bags in Himachal Pradesh, the state government had last year imposed a ban on using polythene for packaging non-essential eatables, especially potato chips and candies

In April, the ministry of environment, forests and climate change directed Haryana state government to enforce a blanket ban on all plastic bag manufacturing units operating without a licence across all districts of the state

Source: December 31, 2015, The Times of India