Srinagar yet to be made polythene free zone

FARZANA SYED. Dated: 7/23/2015 11:09:41 AM

SRINAGAR, July 22: The usage of hazardous polythene bags goes unabated across the city despite the prohibition of the same.
Given the enormity of hazards polythene could contribute to the environment, the high court had ordered for a blanket ban over the usage of poly bags in Srinagar way back in 2006. However, a complete ban is yet to be seen as most of the shoppers and vendors sell their stuff in polythene bags only.
According to the environmentalists, the usage of polythene had already posed a great threat to the fragile environment across the valley yet a complete stoppage was not being ensured.
“Polythene contributes to the degradation of environment more than any other hazardous chemical. We have already lost our rivers and our environment to poly-bags. Our nallahs, streams are choked with polythene and you can see polybags in abundance at heaps to trash across the city. Shopkeepers mostly the vegetable vendors and others still sell their commodities in polythene bags and ironically people are not reacting to it,” Mouazzam Maqsood a scholar at environmental sciences said.
Although efforts are being made by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation to curb the menace, yet they have not succeeded in making city polythene free zone. In 2008 government had passed an SRO for a complete ban on usage and sale of polythene to make the state polythene free zone.
The anti polythene officer at SMC revealed that they need support from locals to make city free from polythene pollution.
“For past seven years we have been making efforts for the strict implementation of ban on usage poly bags. We have been successful in our motive to a great extent. Most of the stores or shops in the city have replaced polythene with paper bags. However, there are still many which use plastic bags only. In this regard, we conduct raids on daily basis whenever we get information regarding the possession of polythene. During these raids we are able to seize huge quantities of polythene from such shops and impose fine on the owners,” Mir Mansoor Ahmad, anti polythene officer SMC said.
He added, “Polythene enters our city illegally. According to our reliable sources it is a chain operated by a kind of mafia. They hide these bags in underground godowns and we do not come to know about it. It comes in trucks or even in passenger buses. Every day more than 2000 trucks enter city from outside the state. We cannot check all of them. Last year we raided and manually unloaded almost 15 trucks carrying polythene,” Mir Mansoor revealed.
Mansoor said that they were making serious efforts to rein in the usage of plastic bags in city.
“Usage of polythene is as much a social crime as any other because it adds to the devastation to our environment and we cannot stop it unless we have support from the locals. People should support us and refuse the poly bags offered at shops. Moreover, they should inform us if they find any one violating the law,” he said.



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