Advocate Rishi Dev Anand, a retired professor of Chemistry from Panjab University and the man behind the move on plastic ban, discusses with Indian Express the current situation
How do you see the implementation of NGT ban on use of polythene bags in Chandigarh?
The Chandigarh Administration has miserably failed to implement the ban. If the ban is not successful in Chandigarh, which is a union territory, where political pressure is less than the other states, we can imagine the condition of other states, including Punjab and Haryana. It was in 2015, when NGT had banned the use of polythene bags in Chandigarh. The local administration conducted many drives to seize the polythene bags and fined the people using them. But at present, nothing is being done in the name of implementation.
How did the idea of taking up the issue of polythene gags in NGT come to your mind?
Frankly speaking, my original petition with NGT was focused on the dumping ground and garbage processing plant in Sector 38 but it was NGT, which expanded the scope of my petition to the use of polythene bags in Chandigarh. Justice Swatanter Kumar, current chairperson of NGT, was keen on environment issues, and he expanded the scope of my petition.
What are the reasons behind the failure of local administration to implement the ban on polythene bags?
Several reasons, including not initiating a regular drive against users of polythene bags, lack of awareness drives to use oxo-biodegradable bags and compostable bags. Indeed, these bags are a little bit costly than the polythene bags. But we have to use them because polythene bags are a hazard for the environment and human health. On the issue of challan drives, I will suggest that drives should be held on a regular basis instead of once in a while.
One solution which you think will be most effective in curbing the use of non-degradable polythene?
Include this subject in the curriculum. The young generation is very conscious of the issue of environment. If somehow we manage to convince and teach the young people about the harms of polythene bags, I am sure our future will be secure.