Himachal Pradesh, the first state in the country to regulate the manufacture and use of plastics, is now contemplating a complete clampdown on polythene bags. The state's Council of Science, Technology and Environment is behind the proposed move. "At present only coloured, recycled polybags are banned in Himachal. But we plan to extend the prohibition to all kinds of polythene packets, including milk cartons and wrappers of chips," reveals Vidya Stokes, the state's minister of science, technology and environment.
The greens have welcomed the proposal and want strict enforcement of the proposed ban. "The plan should work out fine, provided the government gets public support," avers Shyamala K Mani, coordinator of New Delhi-based Centre for Environment Education. She has done extensive work on plastic management in the country.
According to Stokes, once the cabinet clears the proposal, the state government will formulate stringent rules to ensure its implementation. "Anyone violating the ban will be penalised." she added. In 1995, the state came out with the Himachal Pradesh Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, which prohibits dumping of plastic material in public places and imposes a penalty of Rs 5,000 on violators.
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