If you use a polyethylene bag in Delhi, India, you could get 5 years or face a 100,000 ruppe fine ($3000 U.S.). But that’s nothin’ compared to how long it takes those nasty bags to decompose.
Said J. K. Dadoo, Delhi’s top environment official,
We want people to understand that they will not get away with (using plastic bags). If they choose to defy the law repeatedly, then the court has the measures necessary to fit.
Delhi lawmakers say they won’t initially be throwing people behind bars for the first offense. After all, there are 16 million people in the capital city, so it may take a while to change ingrained habits.
But they also said that some harsh penalties were needed after a previous law against plastic bags was simply ignored.
As India becomes more Westernized, use of the bags has grown, with environmentalists claiming that 10 million are used on a daily basis in that city alone. They say that not only do the bags take hundreds of years to decompose, they also clog sewer drains, providing a breeding ground for diseases like malaria and dengue fever.
Environmentalists are pleased with the law.
‘I think you need a deterrent,’ said Sanjiv Goyal, of Greenpeace. ‘It might run into trouble if the punishment is too stiff but it may be the incentive required to change people’s behavior. It shows you what can happen with enough political will and commitment.‘
Similar bans have worked in countries like Rwanda, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
Now, let’s move on to my nearby grocery store, where I get the hairy eyeball every time I hand them my cloth bag. Oh, the horror! The hassle! The bags that are on sale right next to the cashier! The stupidity.
Image: mathewlees on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.
Debbie Smith says
On the article about the plastic bags in Delhi, I believe they do need tough enforcement, possibly not such a huge fine, but a more doable fine. I would think that the people most likely to abuse this law are the poor and uneducated, a fine of this magnitude will have no effect. Attached to the fine also should be some kind of community service. Aside from the problem of disposing the bags are the huge mountains of trash in many spots along the streets and the cows wandering along eating the plastic bags that end up getting tangled in their digestive tracks. Some labor and education should be suggested along with the fine to help alleviate these problems that are connected with the massive usage of these bags. I applaud the Indian government for doing something, maybe they can do something that will have a multiple advantage.
I think that EVERYTHING we use and waste;everything should be Recyclable Material and can decompose naturally.. It should be a law that Every0ne recycle.Companies and people build places; hotels,and
restaurants for example, on top of big pits of trash!
what are we thinking??All this trash just laying around produces bacterias, etc. That harms us and earth.Although it might take a while to do this, the effects will cause big differences later. The FDA posted that they are going to be “open” to genetically engineered food..why?? I ask. I am going to grow My garden,
of course they are trying to make things better, but God put it here the way it was supposed to be. That is all the nutrition we need, we all just need to get the right portions of all of it. We are the only ones here to take care of the earth…it is our home and we need to keep it clean.
Ken Holmes says
The plastic bag problem in Delhi, and in many developing countries, is caused due to a poor waste disposal and recycling system. The biggest problem bags cause is litter. As far as energy and resource use, plastic bags are the most environmentally friendly option out there. Yes, even better than the reusables. They are easily recycled, lightweight, strong, waterproof, made from a waste product, and don’t leach chemicals or give off methane when disposed of in landfills. But when littered, they can cause LOTS of problems. The solution is to focus attention on educating people about how to properly dispose of waste.
“energy and resource use, plastic bags are the most environmentally friendly option”
No… they AREN’T.
They are made of a waste product form a nonrenewable source, meaning, that waste product is also nonrenewable. And it can be used for other uses.
They do leech chemicals… even into what they contain. Update yourself.
When “disposed”, they DON’T DECOMPOSE. Understand? Furthermore, they find their way into water sources, and they make new continents in the middle of the Pacific ocean.
Recycling, will never grant perfect returns. In this case, it’s not really “recycled”, it’s made into new non-recyclable products, the virgin materials are never regained.
Plastic bags are not environmentally friendly in any case. If you argue such, you are only looking at short term… and ignoring a lot. You eat more plastic than you are probably aware of.
As for you, Kaylyn:
“but God put it here the way it was supposed to be. That is all the nutrition we need, we all just need to get the right portions of all of it”
Say that to all the starving children in the world. I don’t think they care about your notions of god providing everything here the way it was supposed to be. Furthermore, you have no right to claim such, as I could simply say that god meant for us to do such things hence why they are being done. In other words, leave your god out of conversations that he has no need to be in, it doesn’t provide a backing for what your saying.
For the article… 5 years is simply too much. For using, a plastic bag. This is against human rights, and it is completely unreasonable and unjust.
Yeah, there should be something done though, I just don’t agree with their way.
Suffocating in Plastic says
What about Glad and Hefty trash bags?
hmmmmm….? You never hear anything about them….Odd.
I feel so righteous using my cloth bags, as I haul my daily garbage out to the curb in Glads. As a matter of fact, when I went to Wally to buy my Glads, I put them INSIDE my cloth bag to carry it to my huge gas-guzzling car.
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Uncle B says
Canada has legalized the growing of hemp, and so far has seen success in selling hemp seeds mostly and apparently leave the fiber in the fields to rot! We need hemp bags the world over, and enterprise haven’t linked Canadian products to big profits yet? Yes, it is true! Canadians are such “fat calves” as to not even bother!
Solar tronenergy says
Look I’m all for discontinuing the usage of those plastic bags. Really, I am. I have those green cloth-like biodegradable ones and I use them as often as I can. But 5 years in prison? I don’t think so. You start legislating every little thing and before you know it, you’re trapped in a spider web of laws. It should be a strictly civil offense, no jail time. IMHO.