The local government of India’s capital, Delhi, has imposed a blanket ban on the manufacture, sale, storage and use of plastic bags in the capital city, starting 4 April.
The decision was taken by the Delhi cabinet, headed by the chief minister Sheila Dikshit. Plastic bags were banned in the city in 2009, but the ban was not widely enforced. About 250 traders had been fined for violating the old law.
The new law provides for up to five years in prison and a fine of up to £1,400.
Plastics industry sources said the move will lead to the closure of hundreds of bag plants in and around Delhi that generate annual sales of £82m. Ninety-four factories are located in industrial areas, while a large number of small-scale manufacturers operate from non-conforming areas.
“The problem is not plastic bags but a proper system of disposal,” said president Yogesh Shah of the All India Plastic Industries Association.
Aditya Batra, programme director for the Centre for Science and Environment, said the new ban will be enforced.
Bharti Chaturvedi, the head of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, a New Delhi-based environmental group, said the new law will help the city create a more efficient system of collecting and recycling or reusing plastic waste.
“It should not be construed as ban on plastics but rather seen as use of less plastic material in day to day life,” said Chaturvedi, who also serves on India’s policy-making Ministry of Environment & Forests.