Despite orders of the high court and instructions of the chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, the authorities concerned have not yet been able to strictly enforce the state-wide ban on polythene and polystyrene disposables in the state. The general public and members of the business fraternity have continued to use the polythene bags regardless of the ban with the action taken by municipal authorities having little effect on the public.
Following high court orders, the chief minister had directed that the polythene ban should be enforced strictly in the state from August 1, 2018. The municipal authorities conduct drives to penalise those found violating the ban. Some efforts were also undertaken to raise public awareness but this has seemed to have little effect on the general public and shopkeepers- most of whom continue to use the banned items.
Rajat Sharma, who runs a groceries shop in Panditwadi area near Indian Military Academy said that shopkeepers are still using the polythene bags because most customers still don’t carry their own cloth bags and demand polythene bags. Fibre bags are expensive while polythene is cheap, he added. Many shopkeepers use polythene bags but are cautious lest they invite penalty from the municipal officials.
Senior citizen Jai Prakash Sharma said that polythene bags have become a habit for most people. They don’t carry their own cloth bags like in the old days, because they know the shopkeeper will provide them polythene bags to keep the products they buy.
Some supermarket chains and branded outlets have minimised or stopped using polythene altogether. They provide fibre bags and at times also charge the customers for the same. However, the banned polythene bags are still being used in most of the shops in town.
Observers point out that though the officials are responsible for enforcing the ban, it is also the responsibility of the citizens to be aware and act as per the rules. The polythene ban in the state is failing largely due to the apathy of the general public towards the environmental damage and other problems being caused by the continued use of polythene bags.
Friday, 01 February 2019 | PNS | Dehradun
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