When the Delhi Government announced that they were to issue a citywide ban on all plastic carrier bags from 23rd November 2012, everyone expected plastic manufacturers and retailers to voice their concerns, but now that the Delhi High Court is asking questions, it looks as though controversial ban may soon be overturned.
Just last Thursday the Government was asked to explain to the High Court why it had banned the manufacturing, selling, transporting and storing of plastic carrier bags, including biodegradable bags, when plastic plates, bottles and spoons were still allowed, and questioned “How can you impose a total ban on manufacturing?.
In retaliation, a spokesperson for the Government said, “It is the responsibility of the state to protect the environment”. They went on to defend the ban by saying that under section five of the Environment Protection Act of 1986, “the lieutenant governor of the state could exercise the power of the central government for prohibition and registration of an industry”.
Members of the plastics industry, however, claim that the state government had exceeded its jurisdiction, and went on to say, “The Delhi government in a fanatic pursuit to endorse its predetermined agenda of completely closing down the plastic bags industry in arbitrary and unreasonable manner.”
While many retailers in Delhi have switched from thin-gauge plastic carrier bags to cloth bags and paper bags, others are not paying heed to the government action. Defending their actions to the ‘plastic bag police’, they claim to be using-up left over plastic bag stock to avoid the 10,000 Rupee fine.
Officials from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), have visited several hotels and shopping malls in the capital since the plastic bag ban was introduced, and while they found several establishments to be violating the ban, they let them all off with “a strong warning.”