Soon, law to make JK polythene-free : Nirmal Singh

Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said since the government was putting in place austerity measures on smoking and drug abuse, the menace of polythene use and non-adherence to ban was another major health hazard.
He said the government would soon bring in a stringent legislation to cleanse the state of polythene pollution.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in her recent statement, endorsed an NGO’s view to take stringent measures against smoking in Jammu and Kashmir.
“It is a great step forward to take all-out measures to protect the health of the people by strictly enforcing COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act). Besides, polythene menace, against which the High Court has time and again passed directions to the state to ban its use, has not been strictly followed,” the Deputy Chief Minister told Kashmir POST.
He said the law enforcing agencies such as the Municipal Corporations and the State Pollution Control Board would also be given directions to take the matter seriously and make J&K a polythene-free zone.
Though various court directions have come from time to time to affect a ban on the use and sale of polythene bags in the state, the weak implementation of enforcing the law has always let the business flourish.
Some of the factories in the Bari Brahmana Industrial area are still manufacturing polybags. Besides, the frequent drives launched by the Jammu Municipal Corporation to remove polythene bags from shops and penalise the owners has turned out to be a futile exercise.
“This time round, there will be no laxity on part of the government. There is already a High Court direction on ban of plastic bags in the state. We just need to implement the ban in the right perspective as has been done in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab,” said Nirmal Singh.
A senior Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) official confirmed that though the drive was launched to seize the polythene bags, there was non-seriousness in dumping or destroying the material as a result of which the haul finds its way back to shopkeepers.
“The High Court can only direct the government, but it is the administration that has to implement the order strictly,” the JMC official said.
As per SRO-182, issued by the government on June 18, 2008, polythene bags are banned in the state under the J&K Non-Biodegradable Material (Management, Handling and Disposal) Act, 2007.

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