Recycled plastic banned from 15 Aug

| 11 August 2000 23:08 IST

The independence day will come with a difference this time in Goa. The state administration plans to liberate the Goan populace from using the hazardous recycled plastic bags from 15 August.

All the municipalities and village panchayats have been geared up to totally ban the use of recycled bags, which have a thickness below 20 microns. But to begin with, the black bags would be prohibited from any kind of use with immediate effect.

It is a common practice in Goa nowadays to ask the vendor for a black or any other coloured bag rather than a white one to carry meat, fish or vegetable from the market. The bags are also so cheap that the vendors give it free of cost, rather than using paper wrappings.

"These translucent bags are a major source of garbage since they cannot be reused but thrown out everywhere and anywhere", says Dr N P S Varde, director of science, technology and environment department, who is presently co-ordinating the drive.

Eventually, the authorities also plan to prohibit all pigments or colorants since most of it are recycled ones. The Recycled Plastic Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999, a notification issued by the centre under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, is being used as a weapon to enforce it.

The Goa State Pollution Control Board authorities, who are supposed to prohibit manufacture of such recycled plastic bags, have sent notices to at least around 40 such plastic manufacturers from the state. But most of such bags are imported from Belgaum, the neighbouring commercial city in Karnataka.

The district collectors have however pulled up sleeves to strictly enforce non-use of such bags from 15 August by putting up boards in all the market places through municipal and panchayat authorities while planning raids from the next day to seize such stocks from the dealers.

As they are handicapped over not having powers to compound the violator on the spot, the state has already written to central ministry of environment and forests to empower the local authorities in this respect.

Though it is a good beginning in a tourist state in order to maintain cleanliness and hygiene, lower authorities whether the drive would be carried out with vigour since the ruling politicians are still hesitating over enforcing the more effective Goa Non-biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 1996.

The act, which has come into force in Goa from 1 January 1998, has all the powers to compound as well as penalise the violators while the courts are empowered even to imprison the violators for almost a month.

Plastic has become a real menace for a tourist state like Goa as all the beaches and prime towns are found full with such bags flying in open while it also creates water stagnation and filth due to choking and clogging of drains all along the roads, especially in the coastal villages.

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