CONTRARY TO popular perception about effective enforcement of the plastic ban in Himachal Pradesh, plastic waste is being churned out in a huge quantity in Shimla, and it is coming to Chandigarh for disposal on a daily basis.
Himachal Pradesh was the first state in the country to impose a ban on the use of plastic bags in 2003.
The Chandigarh garbage plant at Dadumajra daily receives nearly 60 tonnes of garbage from Shimla, of which nearly 6 tonnes is plastic waste comprising bags and plastic packing.
Following closure of the solid waste management plant at Bhariyal on the outskirts of Shimla, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on October 1 had passed orders for processing the waste generated in Shimla district at the Dadumajra garbage processing plant.
The tribunal had stated: “Garbage from Shimla (60 tonne), Solan (20 tonne) and Baddi (10 tonne) would be processed at the Chandigarh MC’s garbage processing plant at Dadumajra daily.”
The plant started receiving garbage from Shimla on October 5.
According to incharge of the garbage plant R D Sharma, around four to six tonnes of plastic waste is coming from Shimla on a daily basis. “We are getting a huge quantity of plastic waste from Shimla which is surprising as plastic ban in Himachal is said to be very effective,” says Sharma, adding that their staff carry out segregation of plastic from other waste.
All the plastic waste of Shimla and Chandigarh is processed together and the refused drive fuel (RDF) is sent to power plants in Patiala and Nakodar in Punjab.
Shimla, a popular tourist destination, has a population of around two lakh. Tikender Panwar, deputy mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation, blames the tourist response to the plastic ban. “Shimla is thronged by a large number of tourists throughout the year. Despite creating awareness and strictly enforcing the ban, tourists continue to use polythene bags.”
However, Commissioner of Shimla Municipal Corporation Pankaj Rai said, “We will intensify checks on the tourists.”