Polythene bags of substandard quality seem to have become an integral part of the weekly vegetable markets of Dwarka.
Despite a Delhi High Court's ban regarding the manufacture and usage of plastic bags which measure below 50 microns (global unit used for measuring thickness of plastic bags) in the national capital, most of the small vendors in the sub-city are usually found in possession of polythene bags measuring lower than 10 microns.
Environmental experts and residents have alleged that the sale and purchase of such poly-bags takes place only due to the connivance of officials of the civic bodies.
The experts said that the cross-sectional thickness of these polythene bags make them look like a membrane and they are very hazardous to the environment. They further added that these are available at cheaper rates.
City Spidey spoke to some vendors on this issue and they said that they buy polythene bags from the same market where they buy their vegetables from. They also claimed that there was a regular supply of such bags in the Dwarka markets.
A vendor at Sector 14 Dwarka weekly market said, “I use half kilogram of poly bags in every weekly market. These bags are very thin and light in weight. Thus, we can get more of them rather than the regular poly-bags. We don't want to use polythene but are left with no choice. If the government enforces the law it will also help us save at least Rs. 100 per weekly market.”
Environmental expert and a resident of the sub-city SN Singh said, “Poly-bags which measure lower than 10 microns can’t be recycled easily and it’s also difficult to segregate them. They are often thrown out with garbage and later on eaten by the cattle.”
The irony is that such weekly markets and vendors sitting on footpaths fall under the jurisdiction of both the Municipal Corporation and the state government. However, neither of them seem bothered about the issue.
An official of Delhi Pollution Control Committee said on the condition of anonymity, “According to the new rules of the government, 50 microns (minimum thickness of plastic bags) is the prescribed limit for production. We check the production according to the rule. However, it’s the responsibility of the Municipal Corporation to check whether or not the polythene bags used in markets are adhering to the prescribed standard.”
Director Press Information South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Radha Krishnan also spoke on the subject. He said, “We carry continuous drives against such activities. Further, people are also prosecuted as use of such poly-bags is banned. I will take adequate steps to address the problems prevailing in the weekly markets.”