Urban areas have been strewn by polythene and plastic waste and one can't avoid the sight of dumped litter while on the road. Close to the capital, it is a daily thing to see plastic dumped all over the roads of Ghaziabad and Noida.
Despite the serious hazards caused by these polybags and a ban by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government, not a single check on the usage of plastic bags was carried out.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had issued a notice in July 2018 on putting banning plastic. It was imposed in another phase in October as well. However, when DNA did a reality check on the streets of the National Capital Region, it was found that the people were least bothered about the plastic usage. Some were not even aware that plastic bags less than 50 microns cannot be used in the market.
From the high-end market to the local shops on the streets, plastic and polyethene are in common use. They are easily available in the markets from where a street vendor can purchase it and use them further. On browsing the street market, there was not a single shop where polythene bags were not in use. Especially the local street vendors use polythene bags blatantly as cloth bags are expensive.
"We cannot afford expensive cloth bags or jute bags so polyethene bags are the best option for us. Municipality people should also think about other cheaper alternatives of plastic." said Ramesh, a street vendor in Ghaziabad.
Use of plastic and polythene is more of people's comfort than the people's choice. It has been almost 4 years since the plastic less than 50 microns thickness was banned. It was first banned on November 15, 2015, Allahabad High Court directed the state government to issue a circular on enforcing a complete ban on the use of polythene by the end of that year. Then in late December 2015, the then government approved a complete ban on manufacturing, sale, distribution and use of polythene carry bags and it was imposed from January 2016.
Since 2015, plastic and polythene ban has been imposed in four phases, but the results have been not so optimistic. The environmentalists say that a lack of political will is the root cause of rampant use of polythene in urban as well as rural areas of the state. Plastics are not only damaging the rivers of Uttar Pradesh but also choking the drains. Plastic pollution is damaging our environment rapidly. The increasing use of plastic bags, utensils and furniture has contributed to pollution. Plastic, being a non-biodegradable substance does not get disposed of in the soil or water and its effect is worse when burnt. It still continues to remain in the environment and harm us adversely.
"Making rules and then imposing them with half heart can not ease this problem soon. Change should be started by govenment and then people should be encouraged to support them." said Rashmi Sharma,home maker
I always carry my own handbag while going to markets. My kids and maid are also instructed not to buy anything in a plastic bag. We have a separate bin for plastic waste and segregate out waste on daily basis religiously. As change starts from us,I make sure no polythene enters my house— Nisha Roy, homemaker
Earlier I used plastic bags in my shop but now I only use papers bags or jute bags. After the ban being a shop owner, It is my duty to initiate this at my level. I also make sure to tell my customers not to buy anything in a plastic bag or polythene bags— Mridul Sharma, retail shop owner
I know that polythene are banned but papers bags are expensive than polythene bags and we cants afford that. We get 50 cloth bags in a packet of rupees 50 while we get 200 polythene bags in same price. When someone come for checking and we are found with a polythene bag,they charge us a minimum of five hundred rupees. I want govt. to give us some cheap options. Customers never complaint about the polythene — Gaurav Kumar, street vendor
Paper bags can’t handle the weight of heavy items so I usually buy goods in polythene bags while shopping. Whenever, I forget to carry my own bag to the market,I am left with no choice and end up buying goods in plastic bags from vendors.However,I make sure that I do not throw those plastic bags into the dustbin— Drishti Tyagi, marketing professional
I do not think that plastic ban have been successful so far because people do not take responsibility as a citizen to not use plastic. I always teach my students to encourage their parents to use jute bags— Kriti Tyagi, Teacher
Plastic bags and polythene are seen everywhere from weekly markets to shops. Govt. Has completely failed in maintaining the law and order regarding the plastic ban. Even now, polythene bags are in circulation without a check . There should be proper scrutinizing of plastic usage in Noida markets. It is high time that we realize the harmful effects of plastic pollution and stop using plastic as well as polythene bags— Atul, Photographer
Enforcement has been done from our end and the local bodies have been asked to do a checking on a regular basis. Many campaigns have also been initiated and we have seized almost 11 plastic godowns till now. However, it is an impossible task to go to each and every shop to check the circulation of polythene — Radha Krishan, PRO, South Delhi Municipal Corporation