Tripura has imposed a total ban on the use, manufacture, import, storage and sale of plastic bags in the state in view of its harmful effect on the environment, official said here on Tuesday.
The decision was taken under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, and the Plastics Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, Tripura State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB) chairman Amitava Debroy told IANS.
A public notification about it was issued in Agartala on Monday and a fine ranging from Rs.100 to Rs.1,000 has been fixed.
Another senior official of the TSPCB said: "For repeated violation of the ban, the authority would impose a fine of Rs.1 lakh or jail for a maximum term of five years or both."
"In case of any violation of the government order by any institution or by any industry or by any shop, the TSPCB would issue closure order and also issue order for disconnection of electricity of that institution or industry or shop," the official added.
TSPCB chairman Debroy, an academician, said: "The government has been observing that the plastic bags are littered around and pose a detrimental effect on the environment and flowing of water through drains and canals."
"The plastic bags also block gutters and sewers, resulting in unhygienic environment and health-related problems besides water logging in the city, especially during monsoon," the TSPCB chief added.
According to him, aquatic and terrestrial animals die after consuming such bags. He added these bags arrest the recharging ground water aquifers while harmful chemicals and plastic colours contaminate the soil and water and choke the organisms.
An aquifer is a body of permeable rock which can contain or transmit groundwater.
The state government originally imposed the ban on plastic bags from January last year, but challenging the state government's decision, the All India Plastic Industries Association filed a writ petition in the Tripura High Court, which upheld the decision of the state government.
Tripura Science and Technology Minister Bijita Nath on Monday held a meeting with all officials concerned, including police officials, to enforce the government decision.
"The state government has engaged authorised officers who would conduct surveillance and raids on the use, manufacture, import, storage and sale of plastic bags in the state. District-level committees were formed in all eight districts under the chairmanship of the district magistrates to deal with the issue," the TSPCB chairman said.
"We would give priority to massive awareness before resorting to punitive measures. School students and youths would be involved in the awareness programmes."