Court to Assess Impact of Plastic Bags on Environment

by Medindia Content Team on Nov 26 2007 12:39 PM

The Delhi High Court has constituted an expert committee headed by a retired judge to study the extent of damage plastic bags can cause to environment.

A division bench Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Veena Birbal Friday directed formation of the committee headed by Justice (Retd) R.C. Chopra for the study with the help of experts and environmentalists and to submit the report in three months.

The chairmen of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) would be the other members of the committee, which would have the help of the experts in the field.

Directing the CPCB and the DPCC to provide infrastructure and secretarial staff, the court said the committee would meet twice every month to take stock of the situation.

During the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Tapas, an NGO, to ban plastic bags - widely used for packing goods bought at shops - in the capital, the court said the committee could take the opinion and expertise of the experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and other institutes.

The high court in September 2006 had directed the Delhi government to give effect to the Delhi Plastic Bags (Manufacture, Sale and Usage) and Non-biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act immediately banning non-biodegradable plastic bags in the capital.

The court had asked the government to consider the suggestion of the CPCB to recycle the used plastic bags as material in road construction.

The CPCB had asked the Jadavpur University and the Thyagaraj Engineering College of Madurai to study the re-usability of the plastic bags.

The study had suggested that the used plastic bags could be used for constructing the top layer of the road.

The amendment in the Delhi Plastic Bags (Manufacture, Sale and Usage) and Non-biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 2003, had made it mandatory for five-star hotels, restaurants with 100 seats and hospitals with 100 beds in Delhi to use only biodegradable plastic bags.

But the law is not yet implemented in the capital, said Vinod Jain of Tapas in the petition.