Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Friday said the Delhi government would issue a warning to units violating the ban on 19 single-use plastic (SUP) items by July 10, after which criminal action would be taken against repeat offenders.
Action will include a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or a jail term of up to five years or both under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, he said.
However, the government will give top priority to raising awareness against the use of SUP items and providing the public with their alternatives, he said.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had earlier issued strict instructions to manufacturers, traders, suppliers and distributors of SUP items to ensure zero inventory of the banned commodities, including packaging films and plastic cutlery,
”Many people believe that setting up enforcement teams, imposing fines and closing down (defaulting) units will make the ban successful. Our government thinks differently… Our aim is to create awareness and provide alternatives to people before enforcing the ban,” the minister said.
Restrictions apply if the unemployment rate is high. This will affect a large number of SUP manufacturers, distributors and vendors. Many people will have difficulty meeting their needs. These people told us, while inaugurating the three-day fair here at Tiagraja Stadium to promote the choice of SUP items.
Teams from the DPCC, the Revenue Department and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will inspect, raise awareness and issue warnings against those who do not comply with the ban till July 10.
”Punitive action will be taken after July 10 against the repeat offenders…Violation of the ban will invite a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or jail term up to 5 years or both under the Environment Protection Act, 1986,” he said.
The tax authorities and the DPCC have formed 33 and 15 teams to enforce the ban, respectively.
Officials said the DPCC would enforce the ban in the buffer zone and the MCD and other local bodies would be responsible for its implementation in the informal sector.
MCD and other urban organizations will take action against non-compliant units under their law, while the Department of Revenue will take action under the Environmental Protection Act.
An official said the environment department would monitor the implementation of the ban through a “green war room” set up in October 2020 to monitor air pollution levels and deal with related complaints.
The “Green Delhi” mobile app has also been updated to report violations of restrictions on SUP items.
Delhi generates 1,060 tonnes of plastic waste every day. Single-use plastics are estimated at 5.6% (or 56 kg per metric ton) of the capital’s total solid waste.
On 12 August last year, the Union Ministry of Environment issued a notification banning the production, import, storage, distribution, sale and use of identified SUP products, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, from 1 July 2022.
Identified SUP items include earbuds, plastic balloon sticks, flags, candy sticks, popsicle sticks, polystyrene (thermocol), plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, and candy boxes for wrapping or wrapping. , Invitation cards, cigarette packs, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, stirring.
By December 31, the thickness of plastic bags should be increased from 85 microns to 120 microns.