Most people do not seem to know any such restriction exists
SRINAGAR: Despite the ban imposed by the Jammu and Kashmir government in the month of March this year on non-biodegradable disposable items, the use of such goods as also of carcinogenic polystyrene disposable products continues in the markets of Srinagar
The department of Forests, Environment and Ecology issued a notification ordering a complete ban on disposable articles made of non-biodegradable material within the territorial jurisdiction of the state.
“Government imposed complete ban on articles made of non-biodegradable material listed in the schedule of the said Act, within the territorial jurisdiction of the state,” an official statement reads.
Apart from the government, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has already imposed a ban on non-biodegradable, carcinogenic polystyrene disposable products, which has been inplace since 2015. But the law has had almost no effect.
A stockist at Maharaj Bazar, Srinagar, said he regularly supplies products made of styrofoam or plastic to clients that include restaurants, hotels and food outlets across the city.
“The ban was carried out just on paper by the authorities. We haven’t faced any interrogation from the concerned officials since the ban. They don’t do inspections, and it goes well with us,” Aftab Ahmad, a wholesaler, said.
“I buy the foam plates from Delhi and sell them here. We sell at Rs 3 per piece as well as at Rs 2. It depends upon the customer what type they want to buy. I sell almost 50,000 pieces in total as hundreds of shopkeepers from the villages come here to buy these products,” he added
About half a dozen traders openly sell the banned products to whoever comes looking for them. They even claim that the demand actually increases during the marriage seasons at which time the products are available in both the wholesale and retail markets in the valley.
At many kiosks, the owners 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 of 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.
An SMC official said, “We are going to launch a massive awareness drive in the coming days against the menace of these products and we will ensure that action is taken against the offenders.”