RANCHI: The Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) has decided to crack a whip on those manufacturing and using plastics below 40 microns in thickness and threatened to take punitive action against the violators. In a meeting of the officials of the pollution board with chairman Mani Shankar on Saturday, several measures to combat the alarming levels of pollution in the state were discussed, a ban on polythene bags being one among them.
According to the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in accordance with the recently framed central government ruling on plastic wastes (management and handling) under the provisions of Environmental Protection Act 1986, sale of any product in plastic carry bags is prohibited. Mani Shankar said, “The rampant use of plastics in the state is a cause for concern. It should be banned with immediate effect as it is a major pollutant, choking rivers across the state.”
Shankar said, “Polythene bags thicker than 40 microns are permissible for use as they can be recycled. If the rule is violated in any way, there is a provision of charging fine with imprisonment up to five years.” The rule is being openly flouted by fruits and vegetable sellers, roadside vendors and grocery shops that are using polythene thinner than 40 microns, which are banned owing to the environmental threat they pose.
The heap of plastic waste dumped on the state highways and other public places are posing a major threat to the environment and activists have been demanding strict action to curb the plastic menace, which has also threatened water bodies. At present, the big shopping malls in the city are using polythene bags thicker than 40 microns that are biodegradable and charge customers for it.