Plastic carry bags still available in market, ban goes in vain
Kozhikode: Even after the government banned single-use plastic in the state, plastic bags are available in the market aplenty. Flouting the ban on plastic carry bags, retail sellers are largely selling products on plastic carry bags.
Compostable plastic bags which are banned are still distributed from many supermarkets and hotels.
At the same time, non-woven polypropylene bags which looks like cloth bags are mostly replace plastic carry bags. As per the order issued by the environment department, only cloth and paper carry bags are allowed in the state.
However, there was confusion over the use of compostable plastic bags mentioned in the state government order banning single-use plastic. Following this, the environment department, in the order issued on January 6, clarified that only compostable garbage bags used to collect waste from hospitals, are excluded from the ban.
Compostable plastic made from the starch of food products will dissolve in dichloromethane. But the raw material called polylactic acid used to make compostable plastic bags are very expensive. Hence, these bags which is manufactured using other chemicals replacing polylactic acid will harm the environment.
Central Pollution Control Board has approved the use of compostable plastic bags under strict conditions. As per the plastic waste management rules in 2016, these bags should be manufactured complying with the ISO 17088 rules and must carry QR code.
But when the QR code on compostable plastic carry bags was scanned, advertisements of cars appeared. With this, it was proved that fake bags are distributed as biodegradable and compostable plastic carry bags.
Squads of the local body and pollution control board are assigned to carry out inspections to find banned plastic products. It is learned that these inspections are not effective in most of the places.
Officials always make excuses on the overload of work and shortage of staff to skip the inspections.
Pollution Control Board, National Institute for Inter-Disciplinary Science and Technology and Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology have been providing training to identify compostable plastic.