Say no to plastics

THE Calcutta Municipal Corporation (cmc) has decided to ban plastic carrybags from next year. The move comes before the formulation of a national policy on the ban of plastic bags. According to the Calcutta municipal commissioner, Asim Burman, "Apart from being a major health hazard and causing harm to the environment, plastic carrybags are a major cause for choking the city's drains."

The cmc will ban the use under section 303 of the cmc Act, 1980. The Act stipulates that throwing waste material that causes choking of drains is a punishable offence. Over one lakh tonne of non-biodegradable carrybags are dumped in the city annually by the people of Calcutta, says A K Chakravarty, advisor, solid waste management, cmc. The coloured carrybags contain elements like cadmium and lead which mix with food when it is carried in them, causing irreparable health damages. However, the move has not been welcomed by those in the plastic industry. The president of the Indian Plastics Association, R K Kasera, said that the government should first find an alternative to the bags before the ban is implemented.