The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (PCB) has embarked on a special drive against the use of plastic in the marketplace.
Though the use of polybags (less than 20-micron thick) was banned on January 1, 2000, most shop-owners in almost all city markets continue to use them and no serious step has been taken to check the violation of the state PCB guidelines.
Now, July 3 has been fixed as the date for a meeting between the market authorities and Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) officials to impose the plastic ban. A decision will be taken on how to stop the use of polybags in the 22 city markets run by the CMC, said state PCB chairman Hirak Ghosh.
The use of polybags was banned in Bengal from January 1, 2000. “But we have to find out suitable substitutes before withdrawing polybags from markets. We will, on Thursday, discuss how to replace the polybags. If necessary, paper packets can be allowed instead of polybags,” added Ghosh.
Samsuzzaman Ansari, member, mayor-in-council (markets), said there were 22 markets directly under the control of the CMC. “We have already informed the market authorities about the ban on polybags. Notices have also been pasted. But we know that some shop-owners are still using polybags.”
Not only are these polybags “unsafe”, they also end up choking underground drains, adding to the civic body’s monsoon woes, added Ansari. “We will co-operate with the Board to bar the use of polybags in markets,” Ansari added.
The state PCB has already held a meeting with municipal officials in North 24-Parganas and urged them to initiate measures to stop the use of polybags in their areas. “The New Barrackpore municipality has already banned the use of such bags, while South Dum Dum will not allow use of any such bags from August 15,” said a senior Board official.
Senior law officer of the state PCB Biswajit Mukherjee said polybags have already been banned in the hill areas of Darjeeling district, the Sunderbans and several forests in Bengal.