Retailers in Delhi, India, still offering plastic carryout bags at no charge despite January 2009 ban; most also lack manufacturer's name, registration number, plastic's thickness printed on as required by law

LOS ANGELES , January 24, 2012 () –

Despite a January 2009 ban on plastic carryout bags in Delhi, India, they are still widely used by grocery stores and vegetable vendors, according to a report by the Deccan Herald on Jan. 24.

The retailers also offer the banned bags at no charge and do not provide shoppers with alternatives, such as reusable cloth or synthetic bags.

In addition, most of the plastic bags used do not follow the mandate that they have the manufacturer’s name and registration number, as well as the thickness of the bag, printed on them, Metrolife discovered.

The law “hasn’t been imposed properly at all. There is corruption everywhere,” said Dr. Usha Maheshwari, a resident of Alaknanda.

Store owners are pressured to carry the plastic bags because customers will shop “where plastic bags are easily available,” said Sanjeeb Maiti, owner of a department store in market number one of Chittaranjan Park, Metrolife reported.

Customers “refuse to purchase items from my shop” without the plastic bags,” he said, adding that the best solution would be to force plastic bag makers to cease production.

The ban imposed three years ago by the Delhi Government prohibits the manufacture and sale of plastic bags, while allowing shoppers to reuse biodegradable plastic bags that are at least 40-microns thick, reported Metrolife.

Those who break the law face increasing fines of up to 25,000 rupees (US$499) over the first three offences, with possible prison sentences of three months duration.

Environmentalists pushed for the ban, claiming that discarded plastic bags clog drains and provide a breeding ground for malaria and dengue mosquitos.

The primary source of this article is the Deccan Herald, Bangalore, India, on Jan. 24, 2012.


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