Dr. Avnish Jolly, Chandigarh,1 st, October 2008 :The Chandigarh Administration has imposed a complete ban with effect from October 2 on the use of plastic carry bags in the Union Territory vide notification dated July 30, 2008 issued by the Department of Environment.
Prior to the ban, the Administration launched a sustained drive through print and electronic media to create awareness among the general public and all among all concerned about the environmental hazards by the use of plastic/polythene carry bags and the deterent provisions against the use of plastic carry bags as contained in the Environment (Protection) Act,1986.
In order to enforce the orders of the Administration issued vide notification dated 30th July,2008 by the Department of Environment under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act,1986 for banning the use, storage, import, selling, transportation and disposal of polythene/plastic carry bags by any person including a shopkeeper, vendor, wholesaler or retailer, trader, hawker or rehriwala, a committee comprising of Inspectors driven from the departments of Food and Supplies, Department of Health and Municipal Corporation have been constituted by the District Magistrate to check violations of the provisions of the aforesaid notification. The officials empowered under the provisions of the Act would inspect all the premises/places where the use of polythene/plastic carry bags are used in violation of the terms of the notification and prosecution will be launched against the defaulters.
There is a provision under the Act to impose penalties to the violators (i) imprisonment for a term, which may extend to five years with fine, which may extend to Rs.1.00 lac or both, (ii) if contravention continues, an additional fine to the extent of Rs. 5,000/- per day shall be imposed. If the failure referred in sub-section-1 of Section 15 continues beyond a period of one year after the date of conviction, the offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years. Where any offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was directly in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.