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Plastic ban first for Sitamarhi

Patna: Sitamarhi is going to become the first Bihar district to ban plastic use after it was declared the first open defecation-free district last month.

The move would become effective from August 15 and those found violating it would have to cough up Rs 500 as fine. District magistrate Ranjit Kumar Singh shared the information with The Telegraph on Tuesday and said elaborate arrangements had been made to make the ban effective.

While the district administration has deputed personnel authorised to impose a penalty on violators, it has also taken steps to provide an alternative. The district administration has taken the help of self-help groups of Jeevika (Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society) project who are making bags from cloth and paper.

Efforts are on to equip households with 2-3 such cloth bags for residents to carry to the market. Shopkeepers, too, have been asked to stock up on such bags and sell these to customers to carry their goods in. Some 500 shops will be opened across the district to sell these bags. Ten lakh cloth bags have already been readied by these SHG members.

The district administration will depute 100 personnel in Sitamarhi town and 50 in nagar panchayats to impose a fine on violators.

Also, 20 government personnel would be deputed in block headquarters.

According to the ban order, all kinds of plastic bags, all plastic or thermocol cutlery such as spoons and plates, and food containers among others would not be allowed to be used. There is also a list of exempted items like medicine packaging, food grade plastic, plastic used for handling solid waste and that for manufacturing and exporting purposes, along with compostable bags for agriculture.

"We have already launched an awareness drive against misuse of plastic and people have responded very positively. The ban would be imposed strictly and with support of residents we hope to achieve the desired goal of making Sitamarhi a plastic-free district," said the district magistrate.

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