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Bill to curb plastic bags use in Delhi

Written By Gopal Krishna on Tuesday, September 09, 2008 | 11:40 AM

Note: A committee, set up at the behest of High Court, comprising members from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had also not favoured degradable plastics bags observing that “there were no BIS standards for such quality.''

Plastic bags are not bio-degradable whatever the thickness is. There is also no such thing as degradable plastic. The solution lies in complete ban on plastic bags to prevent plastic waste from choking drains and land. In its report, the committee said “the chaos and problems caused by the use of plastic bags in the city are primarily on account of waste generated by plastic bags which needs efficient handling by the authorities.''


NEW DELHI: The city government has approved four bills, including one on controlling use of degradable plastic bags, which will be presented in the forthcoming session of the Delhi assembly.

The Delhi legislative assembly begins its session Sep 10 and the bills to be tabled are: Delhi Medicare Service Personnel and Medicare Service Institutions Bill 2008; Delhi Degradable Plastic Bag and Garbage Amendment Bill 2008; a bill for setting up University for Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research; and a bill for Establishment of Delhi Higher Education Council.

"The main aim behind introduction of Delhi Medicare Service Personnel and Medicare Service Institutions Bill 2008 is to stop incidents leading to violence and damage in the hospitals these days," a Delhi government spokesperson said after a cabinet meeting.

"The increase in incidents of violence has resulted in unrest among medicare personnel and disruption of medicare services and inconvenience to members of general public," added the spokesperson.

The cabinet decided to introduce during the forthcoming assembly session the Delhi Degradable Plastic Bag (Manufacture, Sales and Usage) and Garbage (Control) (Amendment) Bill, 2008.

The amended bill provides that no person shall manufacture, stock, distribute or sell plastic bags made of virgin or recycled, degradable or non-degradable plastic bags, which are less than 20cm X30 cm in size and with thickness less than 40 microns.

"It also provides that the plastic bag manufactured out of virgin plastic shall be of natural or white colour," the spokesperson further said.

"The University for Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research would facilitate and promote teaching, research, incubation and extension work in pharmaceutical sciences and its application domains," the spokesperson added.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the cabinet decided to introduce the Delhi Higher Education Council Bill 2008 in the assembly with an aim to achieve globally competitive standards of higher education in the national capital.

Small plastic bags, big fines

9 Sep 2008

NEW DELHI: The small coloured polybags, a common sight at your neighbourhood corner shop or at the stalls of vegetable vendors in your colony market, may soon disappear. Also, violation of norms under certain sections of the draft Delhi Degradable Plastic Bag (manufacture , sales & usage) and Garbage (Control) Amendment Bill 2008 approved by the Delhi cabinet on Monday can attract a penalty ranging between Rs 500 and Rs 5000 and a prison term upto 15 days.

In keeping with the directions of Delhi High Court and suggestions made by the Lieutenant-Governor , the Delhi cabinet on Monday put its stamp of approval on the draft Bill that lays down a more stringent code for manufacturers and users. The draft Bill will be tabled before the Delhi assembly in the three-day session that begins on Wednesday.

The draft stipulates that no person shall manufacture, stock, distribute or sell plastic bags made of virgin or recycled, degradable or non-degradable plastic which are less than 20x30 centimetres in size and with thickness less than 40 microns . It further lays down that plastic bags manufactured out of virgin plastic shall be of natural or white colour.

The restriction on size seeks the end of small thin polybags that are the most commonly used plastic bags and a big threat to environment since they are disposed of in large numbers daily and are non-biodegradable . A large number of plastic bags that are in circulation in the small colony markets are thinner than 40 microns and mostly manufactured at illegal units. There are hardly any degradable plastic bags in use.

By ensuring that the bags have to be at least 40 microns thick, Delhi government hopes to reverse the trend of using plastic bags. According to officials , the thick and large bags are not disposed of quite often and are easily picked up by ragpickers when they are finally discarded.

The condition that bags made of virgin plastic (firsttime manufactured bags that are not recycled) should be of natural or white colour is to guard against coloured plastic that poses a threat since the additives in colour can be toxic.

Besides this, the draft lays down that no licence granted upto now shall entitle any person to start or carry out the business to manufacture for sale or use any recycled plastic bags for storing, carrying or packing of foodstuff within Delhi.

For ensuring proper disposal of biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes, the Bill not only proposes separate garbage depots but also calls for inclusion of samagri (religious materials) in the category of disposables.

As far as recycled bags go, the Bill states that they should be coloured in accordance with the stipulated norms. Such bags will bear the name of the manufacturer and state clearly that they cannot be used for carrying edible stuff.

DRAFTING A TOUGH LAW

In 2000, Delhi assembly enacted the Delhi Plastic Bag (manufacture, sales and usage) and Nonbiodegradable Garbage (control) Act 2000. The Act was amended in 2004

In keeping with Delhi High Court's orders and the Lieutenant-Governor's directions, further amendments were sought. Name changed to Delhi Degradable Plastic Bag (manufacture, sales and usage) and Garbage (control) (Amendment) Bill 2008. To be tabled before the assembly for approval this week

The amendment seeks to make small, thin and coloured polybags extinct

Violation of norms under certain sections of the draft Bill can attract penalties ranging between Rs 500 (for first offence) & Rs 5000 for second offence. One can also go to jail for up to 15 days

The draft Bill says no person shall manufacture, stock, distribute or sell plastic bags made of virgin or recycled, degradable or non-degradable plastic which are less than 20x30 centimetres in size and have thickness less than 40 microns

It also lays down that plastic bags manufactured out of virgin plastic shall be of natural or white colour.
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