Bengaluru: Plastic ban in Karnataka likely by month-end

Bengaluru:  The State government is planning to enforce ban on plastic byplastic the end of this month, though the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is yet to put in place a concrete plan to ensure the restriction is well-implemented.

“The government is holding a series of meetings on banning plastic irrespective of its thickness. The draft notification is before the Cabinet for approval. It has been vetted by the Department of Forest, Environment and Ecology and there has been no dilution in it. Once the government issues the order, the ban will be enforced with immediate effect,” a senior official in the department told Deccan Herald.

But at the KSPCB, things are still in the preliminary stage. KSPCB Chairman Lakshman said that no concrete alternative was ready yet. The board is holding talks with the government, NGOs and paper manufacturers to find immediate alternatives to plastic.

The most difficult challenge is to prohibit the import or entry of plastic from other states and cities, something impossible without vigilant checkposts and trained staff. This aspect is being stressed at presently, he said.

The government had issued a draft notification on October 28, 2015, to ban plastic. People were given 30 days to give feedback and suggestions about the ban. Most of the public responses asked how the ban will be enforced in Bengaluru and across Karnataka, when various departments have been unable to restrict the entry of plastic into Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Cubbon Park and Bannerghatta Biological Park.

The draft notification proposed that no one shall use plastic carry bags, banners, buntings, flex boards, plastic flags, plastic plates, plastic cups and plastic sheets — irrespective of their thickness — to serve food at functions.

No industry or person shall manufacture, supply, store, transport, sell and distribute plastic in Karnataka.

The export of plastic carry bags and their use in nurseries, dairy industry, health sector and any other sector for non-consumption are, however, exempted.

Another KSPCB official conceded that enforcing the ban would be a challenge. Since the KSPCB is only a regulatory authority, it has been unable to strictly enforce the Air and Water Acts, because of which many of Bengaluru’s lakes and air are highly polluted.

Enforcing a complete ban on plastic in the entire State without government backing and co-operation from all departments will be difficult, he said.

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