Ludhiana, September 20
As the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) tightens its grip on manufacturers of single-use plastic, they say they are the “soft targets” while the big fish remains out of reach.
If the government is serious about implementing the ban on single-use plastic, it should first stop the “easy availability” of banned plastic products from Delhi and Gujarat, they say.
Not our job
The PPCB has the authority to take action against units manufacturing banned items, but it cannot stop the inter-state supply of any item. That is the prerogative of either the GST department or the police. PPCB official
The state government had, in July, banned single-use plastic, which is commonly used for packaging and serviceware such as bottles, wrappers, straws, and bags.
Shila Jain, whose local manufacturing unit has been lying shut since July, said there had been a regular supply of plastic carry bags from other states to Punjab.
“Has the government been able to stop that? Banned single-use plastic from other states is stocked in Malerkotla, Jagadhri and Sunam. From there, single-use plastic is distributed across the state. If the government wants to ban anything, it must ensure a blanket ban. Shutting units is easy,” said Jain.
When contacted, a PPCB official simply washed his hands of the whole situation.
“The board has the authority to take action against the units manufacturing banned items, but it cannot stop the inter-state supply of any item. That is the prerogative of either the GST department or the police,” he said.
Rajiv Jain, who earlier made carry bags, said it was a sorry state of affairs.
“Plastic bags without handles are still being manufactured. In spite of the ban, vegetable and fruit vendors, and shopkeepers still use single-use plastic. People throw garbage in plastic bags. Traders are getting the banned product in bulk from other states. Why cannot the government crack the whip against the suppliers?” said Rajiv.
Gulshan Rai, PPCB Chief Engineer, said: “If the government has banned an item, it must not be manufactured. The ban has had its effect. Many units have been shut. Manufacturers are aware that if they make single-use plastic, the manufacturing of other products (non-banned) will also be stopped.”
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