The much hyped ban on use of polythene bags imposed by Sambalpur Municipality from January 1 has come a cropper. The Municipality in a bid to make the town clean and prevent use of non-biodegradable polythene had declared a blanket ban on use of polythene bags below 40 micron.
Even as the civic body started awareness drives to make the town polythene-free, the ‘no-polythene’ movement was short-lived. Lackadaisical attitude of the municipal authorities and their failure to keep vigil are being attributed as the primary reasons. There were no enforcement agencies to ensure ban or impose fine on violators.
Today, vendors and business establishments can be seen using polythene bags again.
“Even as the State Government had banned poly bags of below 40 micron in all the cities across Odisha for reducing polythene menace as per the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, the Sambalpur Municipality was never keen on imposing it,” said Brundaban Behera, a resident of Budharaja in Sambalpur town.
He added even as poly bags add to pollution and the pang is best felt during monsoon when these bags choke drains, no step is being taken by the authorities concerned to check its use.
However, Chairperson of Sambalpur Municipality Reena Trivedi said use of polythene bags had reduced remarkably in the town and several shops have stopped using them.
She admitted that no raids on shops and business establishments had been conducted to check use of polythene bags and promised to constitute squads for surprise checks soon.