The state government will slap a fine of Rs 500 for selling and stocking thin plastic carry bags and other banned plastic items and give a reward of Rs 500 for a valid complaint regarding any manufacturer of banned plastic bags.
“Apart from awareness drives, the municipal bodies may impose fines on sellers and buyers. Users of banned items will pay a fine of Rs 50,” said an environment department official.
“People can lodge complaints against manufacturers producing plastic bags less than 75 micron in thickness. The complaints can be lodged on our Paribesh app, which is downloadable. Not only actions will be taken against the violators, there will be a reward of Rs 500 for every valid complaint,” said Rajesh Kumar, member secretary of the state pollution control board.
On Monday, the state environment department issued a notification banning manufacture, import, stock, distribution, sale and use of several single-use plastic items. It will come into effect on July 1.
The order, based on a recent directive of the Centre, bans extensively used items like thermocol; earbuds with plastic sticks; plastic sticks for balloons, flags and ice creams, as well as plastic cups and cutleries.
“It is observed that single-use plastic (SUP) items… are non-biodegradable and produce toxic gases on burning...,” the directive stated.
The order also referred to the greater peril of thin plastic bags.
The Union ministry of environment has already banned the manufacture, import, stock, distribution, sale and use of such bags less than 75 micron in thickness. From December 31, 2022, the bar will be raised to 120 micron.
“We are trying to identify the units which manufacture the banned items. We want the units to shift to manufacturing of legalised items,” environment minister Ratna De told The Telegraph on Wednesday.
“Stopping the manufacture of banned plastic items is extremely important, along with having cost-effective alternatives,” said environment activist Subhas Datta.
Environmentalists pointed out that several norms to contain the plastic menace had been introduced over the last two decades. But those are hardly implemented.