The Plastic Ban in New Delhi: Is it Effective?

Now once again in New Delhi, Environment Protection Act of 1986 has become active. Earlier the ban was lightly implemented, giving people time to switch to jute, cotton, recycled-paper and compostable bags but now the government is all set to take an initiative to curb the use of plastic bags by imposing fine and imprisonment.

This is not the first time when government has awaken to such a serious issue. Many times before Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit’s government had tried to control the use of plastic bags but all in vain and the result is always zero. I have seen that Branded stores and shop owners are widely distributing their products in plastic bags but the traders have their own views. They are suggesting the government to take out alternative of plastic bags. But they feel that jute and cloth are expensive and Biodegradable bags are not manufactured in Delhi and have to be imported from other places.

These days Delhi has been quietly filling up with plastic bags.In recent years as the economy boomed, western-style shopping malls sprang up in the city. I am sure that there are no reliable figures for bags used but environmentalists say more than 10m a day are used in the capital every day and the fact that each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year. Here I want to state an example, in United Kingdom where till now the ban on plastic bags has not been imposed but some retailers and traders are very much concerned about the environment have been more pioneering and producing their own reusable bags…So we can say that people in other parts of the world are actually taking steps in this regard. Another opinion is that “ban on plastic bags is not the way to clean up Indian cities” This recent controversy has been raised by Minister of State for Environment and Forest, Jairam Ramesh . Obviously we can’t ignore the condition of poor waste management practices but I think it would be improved very soon.

Banning on use of plastic bags could not be an easy task for the Delhi government because the plastic industry has already grown wide in the country and the major problem is that only four out of ten people know about the negative repercussions of plastic bags on environment. The sheets of plastic are derived from petroleum and made out of “film,” or thin flexible sheets of plastic, which are derived from petroleum or natural gas and empty bags get carried away in the wind, ultimately ending up in trees and blocking sewer drains.. Now several countries are taking steps to control the problem of plastic bags .So I think the only solution is just that there is need for awakening of people about the harmful effects of plastic bags. The customers should be encouraged to reuse bags. I feel that climate change can only be tackled successfully if the people are encouraged to change their attitute and behaviour pattern.
Manish Chaudhary

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