Govt fails to curb polythene menace

IRFAN RASHID

Srinagar:

Notwithstanding its tall claims over curbing the polythene menace in summer capital Srinagar, government has failed to keep a proper check on it this Eid.
Street in Srinagar are witnessing heavy rush of people while Eid shopping items are being carried in poly-bags and officials stand unmoved.
The use of polythene bags is rampant in the city despite the ban imposed by the state government. Implementing ban on polythene has become a herculean task for the Srinagar Municipal Corporation who once in a while constitutes a squad to throw few polythene bags out of shops.
Spending a few minutes at city-centre Lal Chowk reveals how hundreds of polythene bags are hanging in hands with Eid items like: Bakery, Confectionery, Clothes, Shoes, vegetables, meat, toys and so on.
Although knowing the fact that these polythene bags are inimical to the environment, residents and shopkeepers are not willing to put a stop to it.
Environmental experts say the use of polythene bags is not only dangerous to the aquatic life in local water bodies but it is also hazardous for human health. The sewerage pipes get choked with polythene bags as they are non biodegradable and cause sewage to overflow, thus becoming an abode of many ailments, experts say.
Besides this the stray cattle are often seen feeding on heaps of garbage dumped in polythene bags causing health hazards to domestic cattle.
The use of polythene was banned in the state through SRO-182 issued by the state government on June 18, 2008 under the Jammu and Kashmir Non-Biodegradable material (Management, Handling and Disposal) Act, 2007, but the use of polythene bags is going on unabated, says Nadeem Qadri, an environmental lawyer.
“Customers don’t bring their own bags and ask us for polythene bags. If we stop providing it, our business suffers,” a shopkeeper said while justifying use of polythene bags.
The government needs to take it seriously as it is a serious issue and should be dealt strictly.
The shopkeepers urge the government to provide them an alternative but “till date they only believe in preaching without ground work.”
Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Showkat Zargar said: “We are sending our inspection teams; we will try to see that it is not done. I’ll just check it.” Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Farooq Lone, said: “I am not in Srinagar right now.”
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