The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed an interim ban on use of non-biodegradable plastic bags which are less than 50 microns in the entire national capital Delhi.
It also slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone found in possession of non-biodegradable plastic bags less than 50 microns, which is the thickness of a human hair.
NGT ordered Delhi government to seize entire stock of the banned plastic bags within a week. Besides, it asked Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Delhi Government to file an affidavit on steps taken to implement the ban. It also imposed an environment compensation of Rs. 10,000 on vegetable vendors and slaughter houses for throwing garbage in public places.
Non-biodegradable plastic waste has been identified as one of the major source of environmental pollution as they don’t decay naturally. These bags have zero reusable value. Besides choking drains, water-bodies and adding to the load of the already-exhausted landfill sites, there are also cases of cattle eating and dying after choking on plastic bags.
According to plastic bag manufacturers, the market share of thin plastic bags (less than 50 microns) is not more than 25%. Mostly the banned bags are made by unregistered units which find many takers because of their cheaper products.
Most of the garbage bags used at homes are above 50 microns. Their use and manufacturing is already banned under the Plastic Management Handling Rules, 2016. The NGT in 2017 had banned the use of disposable plastic in Delhi and NCR with effect from January 1, 2017 and directed the city government to take steps to reduce dumped waste.