Skip to main content

Failure to effect single use plastic ban: Officials blame it on 'careless' Gujarat public

By Rajiv Shah*  

Does the Gujarat government believe that what is called single use plastic – declared “banned” on July 1, 2022 eight years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi “exhorted” to do it on coming to power in 2014 – continues to be indiscriminately used thanks to “irresponsible consumers"? It would seem so, if the proceedings of a seminar organised by an environmental NGO, in which middle-level state officials and industry representatives, participated.
The Paryavaran Mitra-sponsored meet, held at the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA), saw officials from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan (Gujarat), admit, indeed without mincing words, that the plastic ban remains ineffective because of “lack of awareness” about it among the general public, even as refusing to take any responsibility for implementing the law.
Blame-the-people salvo was fired by Pratik Patwari, Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) president, who said, the government “cannot be held responsible” for failing to effect the ban, pointing out, the single use 50 micron plastic is being produced in large quantity in Halol area of Central Gujarat, and “though we are trying to help the small producers to shift to 100 micron, it’s not so easy.” He insisted, “It's the people... What didn’t happen for 70 years cannot be done in five years. At least ten years should be given for implementing the ban.”
GPCB officials CA Shah and Shivani Bhargav, AMC official Monika Patel and Swacch Bharat Abhiyan (Gujarat) official Madhavi Patel, even as seeking to censure the general public for continuing to use the single use plastic, appeared to agree that there was an all round failure to implement the ban. If Shah said, 60% of all plastic bags were produced in Gujarat, even as criticising people’s behaviour for “not economizing” (sic!), Bhargav underlined, “We are very slow in shifting to biodegradable bags as compared to most other states.”
What didn’t happen for 70 years cannot be done in five years. At least ten years should be given for implementing the ban
Monika Patel said, despite the ban, the AMC was “collecting” 350 to 400 tonnes of plastic daily in Ahmedabad, but this collection is quite small, adding, about 4,000 tonnes of “legacy plastic” was lying idle in the sold waste dump site, and no industry is ready to pick it up for  recycling, because of “poor treatment facility” across Gujarat. Madhavi Patel, even as insisting that it was Modi who “brought in awareness” about segregating waste between solid, liquid and plastics, agreed, no segregation was taking place in Ahmedabad or other major cities.
Amar Deep Singh, representing NGO CUTS International, the second sponsor of the meet, was all praise for the Gujarat government for creating great innovative facilities for clean environment, pointing to how Ahmedabad ranks among the ecologically best perforning cities of India, citing the Sabarmati Riverfront with gardens and recycling tracks as a sustainable tourism example. When asked if he knew that beyond 11 kilometres, off Vasna barrage, the river turns into a gutter in which industry discharged all its liquid waste, he admitted to Counterview, he hadn't looked into it.
Sharply reacting to the "debate", Hemant Shah, former associate professor at a top Gujarat University college and senior functionary of the People's Union for Civil Liberties, said it was shocking how officials were trying to attack people for not effecting the ban. "I am an ordinary consumer. I do not know what this single use plastic is. Hence I take it from the vendor. The government knows it, it has all the machinery to effect the ban. I am flabbergasted how general people are being blamed here. Why don't you locking up industrial units producing it?", he wondered.
*Editor, Counterview


Maya Valecha said…
Production should be stopped at the plastic production level. Again Socialisation of all vital sectors is the key.
To add to what Maya said: the vendors who sell their goods in such bags should be "educated".


A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why convert growing badminton popularity into an 'inclusive sports opportunity'

By Sudhansu R Das  Over the years badminton has become the second most popular game in the world after soccer.  Today, nearly 220 million people across the world play badminton.  The game has become very popular in urban India after India won medals in various international badminton tournaments.  One will come across a badminton court in every one kilometer radius of Hyderabad.  

Faith leaders agree: All religious places should display ‘anti-child marriage’ messages

By Jitendra Parmar*  As many as 17 faith leaders, together for an interfaith dialogue on child marriage in New Delhi, unanimously have agreed that no faith allows or endorses child marriage. The faith leaders advocated that all religious places should display information on child marriage.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Ayurveda, Sidda, and knowledge: Three-day workshop begins in Pala town

By Rosamma Thomas*  Pala town in Kottayam district of Kerala is about 25 km from the district headquarters. St Thomas College in Pala is currently hosting a three-day workshop on knowledge systems, and gathered together are philosophers, sociologists, medical practitioners in homeopathy and Ayurveda, one of them from Nepal, and a few guests from Europe. The discussions on the first day focused on knowledge systems, power structures, and epistemic diversity. French researcher Jacquiline Descarpentries, who represents a unique cooperative of researchers, some of whom have no formal institutional affiliation, laid the ground, addressing the audience over the Internet.

Hindutva economics? 12% decline in manufacturing enterprises, 22.5% fall in employment

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The messiah of Hindutva politics, Narendra Modi, assumed office as the Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014. He pledged to transform the Indian economy and deliver a developed nation with prosperous citizens. However, despite Modi's continued tenure as the Prime Minister, his ambitious electoral promises seem increasingly elusive. 

Banned Maoist party protests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, claims support across globe

By Harsh Thakor*  Despite being a banned and designated as terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 2009, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is said to have successfully implemented a one-day bandh across Kolhan division in Jharkhand on July 10th, with repurcussions in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The bandh was called to protest against alleged police brutality in the Kolhan-Saranda region.