(IANS) An overwhelming majority of Indians surveyed feel that civic bodies across the country have been ineffective in reducing the use of polythene bags in the first two years of the Swachh Bharat initiative in spite of the central government and the National Green Tribunal banning their use.
As many as 79 per cent of those surveyed by the Local Circles NGo expressed this view. Of these, 48 per cent said their municipality has not been able to reduce polythene usage, while 31 per cent said their urban local body has taken no action on the subject.
The citizen consultation and poll exercise was conducted amongst 345,000 people across India.
Seventy-six percent felt there should be a total ban on the manufacture of polythene bags in the interest of the Swachh Bharat campaign.
A number of suggestions were also made for drastically reducing the use of polythene bags. Among them:
* Jute and paper bags should be made mandatory in malls and supermarkets;
* Licence of retail chain stores should be suspended if found using polythene bags;
* The government should take the lead by bringing laws for banning poly-packaging and plastic bags from public use;
* Shops should be allowed to charge Rs 5 to 10 for the bag they are giving (like by Big Bazar & Mother Dairy) which can be reimbursed on returning;
* Every municipality must have a poly-packaging inspection focal with clear accountability;
* Municipalities should make surprise checks in shops to prevent the use of poly-packaging;
* Shops/businesses selling poly-packaged products should be steeply fined;
* The number of units manufacturing polybags should be curtailed and discouraged through taxation;
* The health hazards which poly-packaging and plastic bags pose need to highlighted through the mass media;
* Kids should be educated in school to not use poly-packaged products;
* A serious thought should be given to alternates that can be used in place of plastics;
* These alternates should be made available easily on a wide scale and their use should be encouraged.