Nobody willing to give up on polythene in Srinagar

Nobody willing to give up on polythene in Srinagar

Srinagar: The ban on polythene bags in Srinagar city is being flouted with impunity. Polythene bags are openly used and can be spotted in every nook and corner of the city. Shopkeepers in many areas including Batamaloo market, Maisuma, Qamarwari, Parimpora Fruit Mandi, and other markets continue to defy orders.
Mohammad Shafi, a resident of Parimpora, said that garbage comprising plastic bags and polythene is being dumped on roads in such quantity that it is blocking the drains.
“The orders are not enforced on the ground and the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) only issues press releases. In Parimpora, fruits and vegetables are sold in thick polythene bags everywhere and by everyone,” Shafi said.
A vegetable seller at Batamaloo, Ghulam Qader, said that the ban cannot be implemented here. “We are using thin polythene which is easily decomposable and cannot affect our environment. What else can we use? If we use cloth or jute carry-bags, we will have to charge it from customers, which is not possible; we are only selling vegetables, how will we provide or charge carry-bags to customers who buy vegetables for 50 rupees?” Qader said.
The Srinagar Municipal Corporation, on its part, claims to have seized 10.50 quintals of polythene from Srinagar markets between Jan 2018 and March 2019. An official at SMC said that all the polythene being used in the city is being transported from either Jammu or other states, as in Kashmir valley there is no manufacturing unit for polythene bags.
“We have seized tonnes of polythene so far this year, but it will not stop just by seizure and fine. The public can play a major role,” the official said.
In 2018, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had ordered a ban on use of polythene in J&K.
“Officials working for various municipal departments are responsible to ensure that the ban is effectively implemented. Any failure to do so would result in adequate punishment for the officers responsible,” read the HC order.
Khursheed Ahmad Sanai, SMC Commissioner, told Kashmir Reader that joint squads are working across the city and are seizing thousands of kilograms of polythene every month. “We are working on it, as a daily routine. Our teams are inspecting all markets and our department is trying its best to stop this menace,” Sanai said.