River Ganga is soon going to be plastic free, as National Green Tribunal (NGT) in a major development on Friday took an important step in the matter. According to news agency report, the use, sale, purchase and storage of plastic bags and plastic items in Haridwar and Rishikesh has been banned by NGT. The special tribunal banned the use of plastic materials like plates, spoons and other plastic-made cutlery along river Ganga in Haridwar’s Har Ki Pauri and Rishikesh. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also banned the sale, manufacture and storage of such items till Uttarkashi. Moreover, the special tribunal has also said that it will imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on those violating the order. The NGT passed the direction after noting that despite its earlier order, plastic was being used in these areas causing pollution to the river.
Earlier in August, the green panel had imposed an interim ban on use of non-biodegradable plastic bags which are less than 50 microns in Delhi. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had announced an environment compensation of Rs 5,000 on anyone found in possession of such banned plastic. The tribunal has also directed the Delhi government to seize the entire stock of plastic. The bench had asked the AAP-ruled city government and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to file an affidavit by a senior most officer and inform it how directions with regard to waste management in the city were being implemented, particularly in respect to plastics.
The green panel had last year 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. The Tribunal had on July 31, slammed the Delhi government over indiscriminate and rampant use of plastic in the national Capital despite its prohibition. The bench had directed the city government to strictly enforce its ban order in the city and sought a status report on the issue.
The NGT had prohibited the use of disposable plastic in the entire city, especially at hotels, restaurants and for public and private functions, while asking the Delhi government to take appropriate steps against “storage, sale and use” of such material from January 1 this year. It had also said an environment compensation of Rs 10,000 would be imposed on vegetable vendors and slaughter houses for throwing garbage in public places.