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The National Green Tribunal on Thursday directed the Delhi government to strictly impose a fine of Rs 5,000 on those violating the plastic ban order and carry out raids on shops or vendors possessing plastic bags in the city. It also asked the AAP government to submit a status report on the steps taken to implement its order banning plastic in the national capital.
The green panel had last year banned the use of disposable plastic in Delhi and NCR with effect from January 1 this year. “You (Delhi) say the ban is being implemented. You just go to the fruit seller or any shop and you will get the plastic for free. It is so easily available. Why don’t you strictly recover the fines from the violators,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
It ordered the AAP government to immediately conduct raids on shops in different parts of the city and recover the banned material. The green panel also ordered the city government to strictly impose the environment compensation (fine) of Rs 5,000 from the offenders. The Delhi government counsel told the bench that Rs 32 lakh have been recovered as fine from persons found in possession of plastic bags.
The counsel also said the city government has deployed teams in different parts of the city to conduct raids but due to ‘Chhath puja’ holiday, the raids would not be possible today and sought time. Advocate Sumeer Sodhi, appearing for the petitioner in the case, said that non-woven bags were being sold by online companies which should be immediately banned. The bench posted the matter for hearing on October 31.
On the last date of hearing, the Delhi government had come under fire from the NGT over the rampant use and easy availability of plastic in the national capital, despite prohibition. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Ropar resident Abhinav Guleria alleging that the non-woven plastic bags were being used in the markets which were also non-biodegradable.
The NGT had prohibited the use of disposable plastic in the entire city, especially at hotels, restaurants, public and private functions, while asking the Delhi government to take appropriate steps against “storage, sale and use” of such material from January 1. It had also said that an environment compensation of Rs 10,000 would be imposed on vegetable vendors and slaughter houses for throwing garbage in public places.