Delhi imposes blanket ban on plastic carry bags

Earlier ban was only partial and had little effect on manufacturers 

By Moyna
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

The Delhi government has issued a blanket ban on the use of plastic carry bags across the city on Tuesday. The ban covers not just the use of plastic bags but also its manufacture, sale and storage. While hailing the decision, activists say that to make the ban effective there is a need for change in the public mind-set.

The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The ban is not limited to thin plastic bags of less than 40 microns or specific manufacturers as was the case earlier but will be applicable to all types of plastics and their manufacture. Member secretary of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has been mandated to undertake overall monitoring and implementation of this ban. Sanjeev Kumar, environment secretary of Delhi and chairperson of DPCC, says, “We have a strategy in place and are going to launch a city-wide awareness campaign to stop use of all types of plastic.” He clarified that the ban does not include pre-packaged products like chips.

Even plastic book covers disallowed 

The Delhi government order states no person, including any shopkeeper, vendor, wholesaler or retailer, trader, hawker or rehriwala can sell or store or use any kind of plastic carry bag for storing or dispensing of any eatable or non-eatable goods or materials.

No person shall manufacture, import, store, sell or transport any kind of plastic carry bags in Delhi and no person shall use any kind of plastic cover or plastic sheet or plastic film or plastic tube to pack or cover any book including magazine, an invitation card or greeting card.”

The only exception to the ban is the use of plastic carry bags as specified under the Bio-Medical Waste Management and Handling Rules, 1998.

Bharti Chaturvedi, director advocacy group Chintan said the need to ban plastic bags was recognised as far back as the early 1990s and the partial ban imposed earlier along with government and environmentalists' campaigns have led to some awareness among people. “I hope this ban will take this awareness much further,” she said. The blanket ban seems to have been the only option left open because of the lack of response from the plastic manufacturing industry, she added. “The unwillingness of the industry to take responsibility for the end-life of plastic makes complete ban the only option.” She hoped the ban would be followed by incentives for better alternatives.

When asked about the lukewarm results to the last ban, Kumar said, “There is a certain amount of awareness and the use of plastic has reduced... but this time we are prepared to impose Section 19 of the Environment protection Act, which gives us the power prosecute any person violating the Act. But the idea is not to prosecute, and therefore, our efforts will be towards spreading awareness,” he added. He explained a number of officers will be authorised to implement the notification in areas under their jurisdiction.

Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, who met media persons after the ban, reportedly said the ban has been put in place “considering the adverse effects of plastic carry bags on the environment and local ecology”. In order to impose this ban in Delhi, a notification is to be issued. It will replace the 2009 notification which said no person was permitted to manufacture, stock, distribute or sell any carry bags made of virgin or recycled or compostable plastic less than 40 microns in thickness.

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  • A plastic bag ban in Delhi

    A plastic bag ban in Delhi will not succeed, because plastic bags are so useful to people in everyday life. Also, we cannot afford to put people out of work in the plastics industry.
    Plastic used for packaging of milk, flour, cooking oil, beverages and other eatables plays important role in creating plastic pollution including bin liners.
    The only problem with plastic bags is that they can lie or float around for decades in the environment, but this problem has now been solved. There is a new type of plastic called d2w which can be made by factories in Delhi using an additive supplied by a UK company called Symphony Environmental. There is little or no extra cost and no loss of jobs, and at the end of its useful life a d2w bag converts into a biodegradable material. Life-cycle Assessments by Intertek in 2011 and 2012 put the environmental credentials of d2w plastic ahead of conventional plastic, bio-based plastic, paper, and cotton bags.

    D2w Oxo-biodegradable plastics can be recycled or burned, if collected. However, if they are disposed recklessly, they will degrade and disappear, leaving no harmful residues.

    The Delhi Government (and all India) should do what the United Arab Emirates have done, and require all short-life plastic (not just shopping bags) to be made with d2w.

    Moreover, recycled plastic is not food safe BUT Oxo-biodegradable plastic complies with EU and US regulations for direct contact with food.

    Regional governments should follow the UAE's lead by developing standards and implementing and enforcing legislation to make the use of Symphony Environment's d2w oxo-biodegradable ADDITIVE compulsory DURING MANUFACTURING OF CONVENTIONAL PLASTIC because of below mentioned reasons:
    ┬À Does not leave fragments of petro-polymers in the soil
    ┬À Passes all the standard eco-toxicity tests
    ┬À Is safe for long-term contact with food
    ┬À Does not contain organo-chlorin, PCBs or 'heavy metals'
    ┬À Does not emit methane or nitrous oxide, even deep in a landfill
    ┬À Can be safely recycled
    ┬À Can be composed in-vessel
    For more details on oxo-biodegradable plastic Please see the article ÔÇôÔÇ£ Mangalore: Oxo-Biodegradable:The Truth Above The MythsÔÇØ written by Goldwin Fernandes . Written after consulting scientists working on oxo-biodegradable plastic. The link is :
    This article will answer all your queries regarding Oxo-biodegradable Plastic.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • I fully agree with the

    I fully agree with the comments & suggestions submitted by Shikha. Basically the problem is lack of effective waste management by the State Government as well as public.Much better results can be achieved by educating the common man not to litter.The municipal authorities may be persuaded to keep the city clean from all types of clutter.Banning the use of plastic bags is a retrogressive step to cover up the deficiencies of the concerned state government machinery.We cannot stop the cultivation of Bananas to prevent the slipping accidents caused by Banana peel.The solution lies in concerted efforts by all concerned to wipe off the problem of all types of waste.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply