Banned polythene bags find refuge in Dwarka

By Akhilesh Pandey
Photo: Akhilesh Pandey
Posted: Jul 26, 2016

Polythene bags of substandard quality, which have been banned by the government, seems to have become an integral part of the weekly vegetable markets in Dwarka.

Most of the weekly markets in various sectors use polythene bags of below 10 micron.

Be it the market in Sector 23 that is set up on Thursdays and Saturdays, the market in Sector 14 on Sundays, the market in Sector 6 on Tuesdays or the weekly markets at Kakrola, Matiala and other colonies around the sub city, poly bags are used everywhere.

According to experts and environmentalists, such polythene bags are hazardous to the environment. They are referred to as “Chinese polythene bag” and their cross-sectional thickness makes them look like a membrane. They are also available in the market at cheaper rates.

Lalji Verma, an expert and a resident of Air Force Naval Society, said, “Such poly bags are hazardous to the environment as are not easily recyclable. Their segregation is difficult. Hence, they are often thrown out with garbage and, later on, eaten by cattle. These bags are of about 10 micron or below.”

The government has banned the manufacture of plastic bags of below 50 micron, but ironically the use of polythene bags below this standard is rampant.

City Spidey spoke to a few vendors and they said that they buy polythene bags from the mandi where they buy vegetables. Polythene bags are also easily available at the vegetable market on the same day. One of the vendors at the Sector 14 weekly market said that he uses half-a-kilogram of polybags in every weekly market. “China poly bags are very thin and light in weight. Hence, we get can get more of them than the regular poly bags. We don't want to use polythene, but have little choice. If the government enforces the law, it will also help us save at least Rs 100 per weekly market,” he said.


Residents carrying polythene bags at one of the weekly markets in Dwarka.


What is also worrying is the trend that even if people carry jute bags with them, vendors give them vegetables in polybags. Sunita Das, a housewife and a resident of Sector 6, said, “It is completely a matter of awareness on both sides. Vendors use such bags out of habit. They’ll give you vegetables in poly bags even if you have a jute bag. But the main point is that nobody seems to care about it. If a law exists, then it should be implemented.”

Poonam Tyagi, a social activist and a resident of Sector 9, said, “Few years ago, the vegetable vendors were serious (about not using poly bags) as at that time the ban was new and the authorities implemented a fine. But now, polythene is back in use.”  She emphasised, “It is to be noted that poly bags used by vendors is of poor quality, having thickness below the prescribed thickness of 50 micron. They are frequently used by vendors due to their light weight and cheap cost.”

Upendra Jain, a resident of Sector 18, said, “No drive is carried in any of these weekly markets to keep a check on the usage of poly bags. How can one then think of getting rid of them?”

When City Spidey took up the matter with Delhi Pollution Control Committee, one of the officials, on condition of anonymity, said, “According to the new Plastic Rules of the government (Plastic Waste Management Rules), 50 micron is the prescribed limit (of minimum thickness of plastic carry bags) for production. We check the production according to the rule. But, in market we are not responsible to check the usage of such polybags having lower micron (of thickness) than the prescribed standard. This is the responsibility of the municipal corporation.”

On the subject, Mukesh Yadav, director Press Information, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, said, “We are responsible for the proper disposal and management of garbage and we are doing that. Such poly bags are properly segregated and disposed. As far as the use of such bags is concerned, I will convey it to the department concerned.”

TAGS: Dwarka / Polythene / Chinese Polythene Bag / Polybags / Delhi Pollution Control Committee / Director Press Information / South Delhi Municipal Corporation / Mukesh Yadav