The government of India’s capital city says its some 17 million residents will have to learn to shop without plastic bags. On Tuesday, the Delhi cabinet approved an order imposing a blanket ban on the use, storage, sale and manufacture of single-use plastic bags in the city.
Woman shops for bags in Delhi carrying plastic bags that will soon be illegal. (Photo by ">Anna Karin)
Shoppers must now adopt alternatives such as jute, cloth and recycled paper bags.
Under court order, the Delhi government issued a similar order in 2009, but after initial enforcement drives that netted about 300 violators, the ban was ignored and plastic bags reappeared.
This new plastic bag ban will be different said Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. “There will be no leniency in implementing the blanket ban and crackdown on violators will be more aggressive this time.”
Violating Delhi’s new bag ban will be punishable with a prison term of up to seven years and/or a fine of Rs. 1 lakh (Rs. 100,000 or US$1,810). A special court has been established for handling these cases.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the three municipal corporations, environment and labor departments and sub-divisional magistrates will be responsible for enforcing the ban.
A notification on the ban will be issued soon and the government will have one year from that date to implement the ban completely.
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