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Plastic ban a failure in Cuttack

Cuttack, June 6: To commemorate the World Environment Day around this time last year, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation had imposed a ban on the use of polythene within its limits.

One year after, one could still see the hazardous pollutant is being extensively sold and used almost everywhere in this city.

A polythene-free Cuttack city is yet to see the light of the day because of lack of awareness and inadequate measures for implementation of the ban order.

“The ban on polythene has only remained in pen and paper. Polythene carry bags are still the first choice of the people in the city for carrying goods of all kinds,” said Basant Rath, a resident of Buxi Bazar.

An official of the corporation, however, claimed the ban was partially successful as many shops, shopping malls and other business establishments had switched to cotton and paper bags instead of those made of polythene.

“The awareness among people has increased in general and they are now using carry bags made of things other than polythene. However, a lot more needs to be done to ensure a complete ban is followed,” said the official.

The corporation had to face the ire of traders for launching a campaign against the use of polythene carry bags last year.

City residents, on the other hand, had a different story to tell. They alleged that the ban on polythene had burnt a hole in their pockets as a lot of malls and business establishments were charging money for supplying cotton and paper bags.

“Shopping malls such as Big Bazaar, Metro Bazar, Vishal garments store and other business establishments are charging between Rs 4 and Rs 6 for carry bags made of cotton and jute which are being promoted as alternative to polythene bags,” said Pradeep Behera, a resident of Seikh Bazar.

He said the residents of the city had welcomed the ban on polythene but it was “unfair” by shops to charge money for the cotton bags.

“Even after the ban on polythene last year, it is being used extensively by a lot of people. Apart from affecting the environment, it is also creating a lot of problems in collection and disposal of waste materials,” said Giti Mohanty, project manager of Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited, the company engaged in collection and disposal of waste materials from Cuttack city. She added that unrestricted use of polythene carry bags was also choking most of the city drains, creating problems in discharge of wastewater.

“Polythene carry bags continue to choke drains in many areas of the city. This may result in severe waterlogging in this low-lying city in the coming monsoon. Apart from making the drains free of polythene, it is high time the civic body also takes steps for strict enforcement of the of ban order on polythene carry bags,” said another resident.