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If there is one law that is least respected by everybody in the city and with impunity, then that credit should probably go to the law banning use of plastic bags.

Despite the State Government and GHMC banning use of certain types of plastic carry bags, one can see them being used freely by shops, petty traders and customers.

While the ban is primarily aimed at protecting public health and environment from the hazards of toxic chemical content of the bags, the violations unfortunately are aggravating the very conditions that are sought to be avoided.

Use of substandard quality plastic carry bags for food items, especially meat products and vegetables, and their dumping along with other garbage leading to civic inconveniences and environmental damage have become common. The fervent pleas of environmentalists and citizens’ bodies to thepcb manufacturer government authorities, traders as well as denizens to observe caution in using hazardous plastic bags are simply being ignored.

“Use of carry bags or containers made of recycled plastics (coloured) for storing, carrying, dispensing or packing of foodstuffs is banned in the State,” a pcbchina official told to The New Indian Express. Municipal Commissioners in Urban Local Bodies and Collectors in districts have been entrusted with the enforcement of rules regulating the thickness, use, collection, segregation, transportation and disposal of the bags. The government later issued another set of rules restricting manufacture of plastic carry bags. Manufacturing units violating the rules relating to recycling, thickness and marking can be fined up to Rs 50,000, their licences cancelled and machinery confiscated. Retailers and other establishments found using the banned bags can be fined up to Rs 5,000 and their trade licences cancelled. Even individuals found littering public places can be imposed a penalty of Rs 500 per offence. However, despite several violations, not a single trade licence has been cancelled in the last two years.

“Rules pertaining to thickness and marking of carry bags and recycling are not at all being followed by vendors and manufacturers," lament members of the Forum for Better Hyderabad expressing concern over the adverse fallout it could have in future.

Having realised the potential hazards of plastic bags, metros like Delhi in India and many other cities abroad have started implementing ban strictly.

Whether the officials here too will come out of the slumber and act firmly before any serious damage is done remains to be seen.

Perils of plastic Plastics

are non-biodegradable and pollute earth and ground water. The chemicals present in them can harm our body. According to the PCB, plastic bags make the soil infertile and pollute ground water through leaching of toxic substances. They choke drains, sewer lines and harm the stray cattle foraging on garbage. They contain cancercausing agents called carcinogens, which enter the human body through food items. Regular intake of food items containing carcinogens is very hazardous to health over a period of time, though there may not be any immediate effect on health.

In order to protect public and environment from the harmful effects of plastic, the State government has banned their use by industries, shops and even the public. Implementation of the ban in the city rests on the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

Even the High Court had given a direction to the GHMC that it take action against shop owners selling plastic bags less than 20 microns in thickness.

Despite this plastic bag usage is going on unabated. Admitting lack of enforcement, the GHMC officials, however, blame it on staff shortage. Though they made an attempt initially by raiding some shops and fining violators, there has been hardly any enforcement later on.

Though environmentalists have been voicing concern over the neglect of the ban and its consequences, their pleas have been falling on deaf ears.

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