Plastic drive yields banned tobacco items

STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 11th Nov: Banned tobacco products such as Zarda and Khaini estimated to worth lakhs of rupees were seized from a warehouse in MG Avenue area on the second day of the joint drive conducted by volunteers of Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) and officials of Manipur Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to check use of sub-standard polythene carry bags.

Though no arrest could be made in connection with stocking of the banned tobacco goods, the said items have been confiscated and kept under the custody of City police station.

Speaking to the media during the drive carried out on Saturday, MPCB environmental engineer Kh Premkanta Singh reminded that the state government had already issued notification to prohibit usage, sale, stocking, manufacturing of plastic carry bags which are less than 50 micron in thickness.

While noting that in-spite of imposing the ban with the aim to check health hazards and environmental pollution the public continue to randomly use carry bags made from recycled plastic material, Premkanta, who is also in-charge of MPCB plastic waste management, said the polythene bags confiscated from various shops and warehouses would be disposed appropriately.

He informed that process is underway to initiate legal action under relevant provisions of the Environment Protection Act against those who were found defying the ban order.

Premkanta also desired that like volunteers of DESAM joining hands in enforcing the ban all sections of the society contribute their mite in protecting the environment as well as checking possible health issues due to continuous usage of sub-standard plastic goods.

According to DESAM assistant general secretary Oinam Chetan, the drive against widespread usage of plastic carry bags need to be sustained for traders appear to have no sense of responsibility towards the society other than making financial gains.

Further stating that effective implementation of the ban is inevitable to check rapid environmental pollution, blockage of drains, reduction of soil fertility and harm caused to both human and animals, he also stressed the need for replacing carry bags having less than 50 micron in thickness with environment-friendly plastic items.

Commenting on the seizure of banned tobacco products, Chetan also questioned the commitment and effectiveness of agencies entrusted to enforce the prohibition.

The drive carried out on Saturday also covered Allu Gali.

As per notification issued by MPCB, the drive will continue in the coming days.

MPCB also cautioned all concerned that non-compliance with Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2015 is liable to be penalised with imprisonment up to five years, extendable to seven for repeated offence, and fine to the tune of Rs 1 lakh, or both.

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