Despite a blanket ban in the state, single-use plastic items are omnipresent in the capital city, including the vegetable and fruit markets.
Even though the government had announced that it will mete out stringent punishment to violators, shopkeepers and customers both claim that plastic remains the most convenient and cost-effective option to pack goods apart from serving a variety of other purposes.
A shopper at Pulia, Ram Chandra, said, “The Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) officials have been regularly campaigning against single-use plastic. Yet, only a few shopkeepers have switched to cloth bags. Most of the others still give goods packed in polythene bags. Awareness is scanty among the customers too.”
Echoing similar sentiments, vegetable seller Vijay Kumar said, “Plastic still remains popular. We are ready to stop using it if there is a strict ban. However, we will have to then ask people to bring their own bags as the other options are costly.”
Another buyer Anant Singh said, “More people should come forward and adopt eco-friendly alternatives. Apart from creating awareness, the DMC should also crack the whip on offenders.”
Meanwhile, DMC officials said that they are regularly conducting drives against plastic at various parts of the city and imposing fines on those violating rules. They added that over Rs 8,000 has been collected as penalty in the first week of March alone. They also noted that many people are now coming forward to donate single-use plastic items for recycling too.
According to data available with the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board, industries in the state generate 1.5 lakh tonnes of plastic every year and consumers produce 30,000 tonnes of such waste.