and Styrofoam Ban
In 2003, the Indian national parliament passed legislation banning the use, production, distribution, sale and storage of plastic bags made from polythene. The punishment for breaking this law was left up to the jurisdiction of each Indian state with fines ranging from 100,000 rupees ($2,040 USD), jail sentences of up to 7 years or both.
In January 2009, the New Delhi government banned the use of all plastic bags in the capital city, issuing a 100,000 rupee fine and/or 5 years of imprisonment for non-compliant businesses that continue to distribute plastic bags. The legislation prohibits the use of plastic bags, so if the government wishes, it may even penalize individuals who carry plastic bags. The ban covers most shopping areas, hotels, hospitals and restaurants in New Delhi. It is estimated that the capital city’s 16 million residents consume approximately 10 million bags everyday.
The Confederation of Indian Traders were given 10-12 days notice of the ban though they argue that environmentally friendly alternatives are not readily available and the transition will have to come slowly. One of the primary downsides of the bag ban may appear in the labor market because closing the plastic bag manufacturing facilities in the city will put over 1,000,000 people out of jobs.
The government states that there are a number of cloth, jute and paper substitutes available and there is an urgent need to change the mindset of people and prevent plastic bags from clogging up drainage systems in the city, which were attributing to providing a breeding ground for malaria and dengue fever. How quickly the government will follow through with this new legislation remains to be seen.
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