After awareness drive and warning, malls and hotels found flouting plastic bag ban

Violators

Environment officials confiscated six samples of plastic carry bags from shopping malls and five-star hotels on Saturday, two weeks after a blanket ban on such bags in the city.

It was the first inspection drive after the ban was enforced.

Officials said inspection was carried out in the same malls and hotels, where an awareness drive was conducted exactly a week ago.

Officials said 25 teams, comprising members of the Environment department and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), visited 19 five-star hotels and 25 malls on Saturday.

"During the awareness drive, several establishments were found violating the ban, but let off with a strong warning. We found during Saturday's inspection that plastic carry bags were still being used there. We seized samples," DPCC member secretary Sandeep Mishra said.

Sources said at least 120 shops in malls were found violating norms. Penalties would be decided after evaluating all the cases.

The ban allows prosecution under the Environment Protection Act. Establishments caught using plastic bags can be fined Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

"There will be a case-to-case assessment of the nature of violation. This will leave no room for confusion, discrimination or unnecessary harassment. After that, legal action may be initiated," Mishra said.

The teams will analyse the samples to find out the type of plastic used.

The Delhi Cabinet on November 23 approved a resolution to ban the use, storage, sale and manufacture of plastic bags. This was in tandem with the notification in January 2009, when storage and sale of plastic bags in commercial areas were banned, but manufacturing was allowed.

The November 23 notification bans the use of all polythene bags, including bio-degradable plastic of 40 microns or more thickness, which was earlier allowed.

The government has set a one-year target for complete implementation of the ban.

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