NewDelhi: Despite reminders, Dilli Haat flouts ban

NEW DELHI: Delhi government seems to be meeting with most resistance from its own quarters on the implementation of the ban on plastic bags. After it’s Dilli Haat now where shopkeepers have not been able to give up on plastic bags. The environment department has been writing to them on the issue but enforcement still remains a problem.

Dilli Haat, that comes under the department of tourism of the Delhi government, has been the forum for the environment department from where they have been specially promoting alternative bags. Special stalls selling jute and paper bags were also set up to encourage stall owners and consumers to switch from plastic. However, even now, plastic bags have not disappeared completely.

the Dilli Haat

Zakir Ali, manager of Dilli Haat at INA, said the place would become completely free of plastic bags by the end of the year. “We have put up boards and sent warning letters to violators but there has been a problem of enforcement. While our exhibitions have been completely plastic-free, the older artisans seem to be having a problem in being able to afford bags of alternate materials. We are trying our best to help them out,” he said, adding that a large number of people had started using jute and paper bags already.

Sources added that the department had no budget to support any subsidy on the use of alternative bags and for poor artisans coming from villages, the issue of affordability was a huge concern. “The resistance to using non-plastic bags comes not just from stall owners but also from consumers. Such bags cost about Rs 10. Consumers are habituated to taking free plastic bags and so now they are reluctant to purchase bags. A mechanism will have to be figured out wherein artisans get financial help so that they can switch over to jute, cloth or paper bags,” said an official.

Department officials said meeting was to be convened shortly in which more comprehensive methods of implementing the ban would be chalked out. “We have been writing to all heads of market places and threatening them with action if violations are found. A more strict approach needs to be adopted,” said an official.

Plastic bags were banned in the city in January this year. Those caught using or distributing plastic bags of any thickness or size will be fined a maximum of Rs 1 lakh or imprisonment of up to five years under the Environment Protection Act 1986.

From TOI

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