Plastic Bag
Is a Ban Enough?

India consumes around five million tonnes (mt) of plastic products every year. Of this, a large amount of consumption happens through use of plastic bags alone. The country doesn’t have a national ban on use of plastic bags. However, on their own, several states such as Punjab, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Sikkim and West Bengal have imposed a ban on plastic bags. Rajasthan, the largest state of India joined this green league in July.

The ban makes it illegal to manufacture, import, sale and transport of plastic carry-bags will be illegal all across Rajasthan. No shopkeeper, retailer, trader, hawker or vendor is allowed to supply goods to consumers in bags.

However, polythene and plastics used for ferrying food and consumable goods like milk and to develop saplings of hybrid and nursery plants will be excluded.

Any infringement of the notification could result in five years imprisonment or a fine up to Rs100,000 (£1,372) or both. Recurrence of the offence may lead to a penalty of Rs 5,000 (£68) a day.

Sunita Kasera, the correspondent of this video is also a house maker and according to her, plastics bags enter common household often by men and women who are not totally aware of the harms of the products.

Sunita feels, while the ban is a timely step, it can be complete and successful without proper community participation. And to make that community participation happen, the community members need to be made aware of the details of the ban – why was it imposed, what are the affects of plastic bags, how the ban would curb those affects and what would happen if the ban is not followed etc. Unless that is done, people will continue to use the bags and the ban will stay just as another government decree.

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