SRINAGAR: Non-biodegradable, carcinogenic polystyrene disposable products continue to be in use in the markets of Srinagar, despite ban imposed by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in 2015.
A stockist at Zaina Kadal in old Srinagar said that he regularly supplies the products made of Styrofoam or plastic to clients, which include restaurants, hotels, and food outlets across the city.
“There is no ban on the ground. We haven’t faced any objection from the concerned officials since the ban was announced. They don’t carry inspections,” Aftab Ahmad, a wholesaler said.
“I have got consignment of foam plates from Delhi to be sold for Rs 3 and Rs 2 per piece. I sell around 50,000 pieces and most of my customers are village shopkeepers,” he said.
About half a dozen traders openly sell the banned products to whoever comes looking for them. They even claim that the demand has actually increased during the marriage season.
At many places, the vendors don’t even know that the ban exists. “Even if there is a ban on these disposable products, I will use the stock I am left with, because the SMC won’t compensate me for the losses I may suffer if I dispose the disposable plates,” Asif Ahmad, owner of Sajan foods, said.
Styrofoam and Thermocol are trade names of a type of plastic called polystyrene, a white, lightweight material that takes hundreds of years to break down.
Nisar-ul-Hassan, a prominent doctor told Kashmir Reader these non-biodegradable products cannot be sterilized and as a result of this people can have gastro-infections.
“Polystyrene has been linked to cancer. Apart from being a potent health hazard, these disposable products are also non-biodegradable and pose an environmental challenge as they pile on without decomposing and make soil infertile,” said Barkat- ul-Nissa, a student of environmental science at the University of Kashmir.
Chief Sanitation Officer of Srinagar Municipal Corporation Mohammad Akbar Sofi said that they were planning to launch massive awareness drive in the coming days against the menace of these products. “We will ensure that action is taken against the offenders,” he said.