May 15: The Guwahati Municipal Corporation today issued an order prohibiting use and sale of disposable plastic utensils and thermocol in the city.
The GMC order has been issued after taking into consideration the fact that drains in the city are clogged to capacity with plastic packets and other similar items, thereby obstructing free flow of water.
Under this particular order, no person will be allowed to indulge in the sale or use of plastic cups, plates or similar products.
Besides, people will also have to refrain from using thermocol for packaging of food products like fish, vegetables and ice among others.
They will also refrain from depositing plastic items and thermocol at a public place or a drain or waterbody within the GMC area after three weeks of issuance of this order.
The order also stated that no carry bags shall be made available to the customers free of cost. Minimum price of carry bags — depending upon their quality and size — will be charged as and when a notification is issued by the GMC in this regard.
“People in the city continue to throw plastics items into drains. In fact during the ongoing de-siltation process, a large quantity of plastics has been dug out by the workers. The plastic items are non bio-degradable and have been the major cause behind clogging of small and major drains here. As a result, outflow of excess rainwater is obstructed, thereby resulting in flash floods during heavy rain. To put an end to this we have issued an order banning use of plastic cups, plates and thermocol,” GMC commissioner Puru Gupta said.
The corporation has given buyers and traders here a period of three weeks to comply with this order or face strict action.
“If anyone fails to abide by the order and is found retailing or wholesaling plastics cups and plates, we will seize the entire stock. His trade licence can be also cancelled and the premises of his shop closed down. We can also file a criminal case against him depending on the nature of the case. Be it a small or a big trader, no offender will be spared,” Gupta said.
“If any one wishes to use plastic carry bags they will have to pay for it. We will also fix the price of these bags in such a manner that the customers will feel the pinch in their pockets. Factors like dimension, thickness and label of the plastics will be taken into consideration while fixing their price,” Gupta said.
Major malls in the city are already charging customers a few bucks if they wish to carry their new purchases in plastic bags.
Seujee Dharanee the Green Earth, an NGO, has appreciated the initiative taken by the GMC.
The NGO had recently carried out a survey on use of polythene in the city. The survey found that almost 70 per cent of those surveyed were willing to abandon use of polythene bags if they found an alternative.
Only 20 per cent were unaware about the adverse impact of polythene bags and the remaining 10 per cent blamed their negligence.
“The impact of polythene bags is terrible. Now an alternative that is cost effective and easy to carry should be made available in the market. Organic resources like jute and water hyacinth that are available here in abundance can be used to make such carry bags,” said Satya Ranjan Borah, president of the NGO, said.