Multi-layered and metallised pouches used for packing namkeen, shampoo, biscuits, gutkha and pan masala in Delhi must be banned, a Government panel has revealed.
Officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCB) and retired judge R C Chopra have submitted a report to the Delhi High Court which is hearing a case related to the plastic menace in the city.
The panel has acknowledged that "multi-layered and metalized pouches used for gutkha and pan masala are not recyclable due to their composition and as such they remain as solid waste, causing serious damage to the environment."
It has also suggested a complete ban on coloured bags containing metallic additives, as they are injurious to health as well as the environment.
Referring to the Plastic Manufacture, Sale and Usage Rules, 1999 as amended in 2003, the panel said, "It (Act) prohibits the use of recycled plastic bags for storing, carrying, dispensing and packaging foodstuff. Coloured recycled bags contain some metallic additives which have harmful affects as they leach and contaminate soil as well as sub-soil water."
"Encouraging usage of virgin plastic/biodegradable bags may also help," it added.
Apparently suggesting that plastic bags cannot be done away with, CPCB chairperson J M Mauskar, DPCC chairman J K Dadoo and Justice RC Chopra has also listed limitations of implementing its suggestions which are "not only expensive but harmful to environment as well."
For instance, heavy and wet articles cannot be carried in a paper bag. So complete dependence on this alternative is not viable.
"Paper production also involves greenhouse gas emissions and consumes abundant water as well as energy in the manufacturing process," the panel observed.
Using paper bags will need more production of paper, resulting in cutting more trees for manufacturing paper, thereby disturbing the ecological balance, the panel said.
The ban will ensure a curb on the non-degradable multi-layered plastics that has caused choking of sewers resulting in overflowing of sewage on the roads.