Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government enforced a ban on the use of plastic in six cities of the state on Tuesday, coinciding with the 149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
A ban on the use of polythene, thermocol, and other such plastic products has been implemented in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela, Sambalpur and Puri.
"No person, by himself or another, shall knowingly or otherwise, sell, trade, manufacture, import, store, carry, transport, use or distribute polythene and single-use plastic within the municipal limits, or as the case may be within the municipal corporation limits of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Rourkela and Puri," an order of the Forest and Environment Department said,
The ban, however, excludes plastic for carrying and transporting garbage and containers like cup for milk products including curd and ice-cream, polythene packaging materials used in plant nurseries, horticulture, agriculture and healthcare sector like medicines, blood transportation bags, syringes, sample or specimen bags, re-sealable bags, medical instruments and accessories.
The order said that manufacturers, dealers, and major commercial establishments will have to face a minimum punishment of five years of jail term and fine up to Rs one lakh for flouting the norms.
Small traders could face a penalty of Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 for violating the norms.
The concerned district collectors and sub-collectors have been asked to ensure the ban with some flexibility till one month, after which action would be taken against the violators.
Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Mayor Ananta Jena said teams comprising officials of the Labour Department, BMC, Odisha State Pollution Control Board and the Police Commissioner have been formed to ensure the ban on the use of plastic.
"The teams will make people aware against the use of plastic and polythene. Notices have been served on plastic and polythene manufacturing companies while raids will be conducted on godowns where these items are stocked," Jena said.