The Municipal Corporation of Delhi will "continue to do" as mandated by the central government norms on ban on single-use plastic (SUP), even as the city government has said it will grant a 10-day grace period to units found violating the ban before initiating punitive actions.
Civic authorities on Friday had seized nearly 700 kg of plastic items and issued over 350 challans in its jurisdiction in view of the countrywide ban on SUP.
"These items were largely seized from traders in markets who keep a stock of plastic bags. Once the ban has come into place, markets are switching to paper bags or cloth bags, as expected," a senior official said on Saturday.
"It was just day one of the ban kicking in. We are raising awareness from our sides, as also other necessary steps will be taken accordingly in the coming days," he said.
However, Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Friday had said that the Delhi government will issue warning notices to units found violating the ban on 19 SUP items till July 10 and punitive action will be taken thereafter against repeat offenders.
Another senior MCD official when asked if MCD would continue to take action against such violators, said, "We will continue to do in accordance with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and central government norms on the ban on single-use plastic".
"The MCD is conducting ICE (information, communication and education) activities anyway to raise awareness and steps will be taken according to the norms," he said.
The MCD has seized 689.01 kg of plastic items and issued 368 challans in its jurisdiction in view of the single-use plastic ban, it said in a statement on Friday.
"A total of 125 enforcement teams have been constituted at zonal level to eliminate stocking, sale and usage of banned items," it said.
Announcing the 10-day grace period, Rai had said on Friday that the MCD and other urban local bodies will act against the defaulting units according to their bylaws while the revenue department will take action under the Environment Protection Act.
The action will include a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or a jail term of up to five years or both under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, he said. However, the government will give top priority to creating awareness against the use of SUP items and providing their alternatives to people, he said.
Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Tuesday though said the government had given enough time to the industry and the public to prepare for the ban and it hopes for everyone's cooperation.
Violation of the ban will invite punitive action, including a fine or a jail term or both, detailed under Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act and under bylaws of the respective municipal corporations, officials in the Union Environment Ministry earlier said.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had earlier issued strict directions to manufacturers, stockists, suppliers and distributors of SUP items to ensure zero inventory of the banned commodities, including packaging films and plastic cutlery, by June 30.
"Many people believe that setting up enforcement teams, imposing fines and closing down (defaulting) units will make the ban successful. Our government thinks differently... Our aim is to create awareness and provide alternatives to people before enforcing the ban," Rai said.
Delhi generates 1,060 tonnes of plastic waste per day. Single-use plastic is estimated to be 5.6 per cent (or 56 kg per metric tonnes) of the total solid waste in the capital.
Identified SUP items include, earbud sticks and sticks used for balloons, flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, wrapping or packaging films around confectionary boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners of less than 100 microns and stirrers.