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Monday, October 29, 2012

Plastic Carry-Bag Menace Returns Again!

Malda, October 29, 2012: Though the anti-plastic carry bag campaign commenced amid much hypes in and English Bazaar Municipality (EBM) imposed complete ban on plastic carry bags less than 40 micron, Malda town, within less than two months, witnesses the return of illegal plastic carry bags. Offended environment conscious citizens believe that indifference and inaction of EBM authority and district administrations made the return of carry bag menace obvious.

It may be mentioned that plastic carry-bags regarded as a strong environment pollutant was banned in Malda town by EBM authority from 1 August this year. A club associated with an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) was first to take a commendable initiative of organizing anti-plastic carry bag campaign. They first made the campaign on 7 July this year and again resumed the campaign on 15 September. Large number of citizens welcomed the move.

EBM chairman Krishnendu Choudhury being convinced of the citizens’ demand declared ban on such heavily polluting carry bags from 1 August. Initially the prohibition yielded a optimizing result as it was believed both by the merchants and the consumers that this time it was a serious step and use of such bags would attract hefty penalty on them.

But as the Durga puja drew nearer, plastic carry bags returned to Malda town silently again and the cautious and secret use of those has now become rampant again. Though a section of merchants are not yet taking the risk of using the plastic carry bag, it’s being anticipated that soon the old menace with all its notoriety would return.

Goutam Chakraborty, president of the club under the international NGO and a lawyer, lamented, “It’s really frustrating to see the return of the menace despite all the endeavours. Imposition of penalty is an imperative for eradicating the severely polluting carry bags. Though the EBM somewhat helped us, we were sorry to say the district administrations showed a strangely indifferent attitude to save Malda from clutch of plastic carry bags.”

Chakraborty added, “But we cannot give up. Soon after the annual examinations are over in schools, we are going to hold camps in schools to generate zero tolerance against plastic bags among the school students.”

EBM chairman Choudhury too conceded the return of the menace. “The vigil became little loose during the festive period. It would be strengthened again and the move against plastic carry bags would continue.” He said that the merchants also had responsibility in turn Malda into a plastic carry bag free area.

Secretary of Malda Merchant Chamber of Commerce Jayanta Kundu said, “It would be wrong to blame the traders alone as many customers refuse to buy things if plastic carry bags are not given. Still we have urged our colleagues not to encourage such practice.” Kundu also believe that district administrations should play a more active role, “They must stop infiltration of such bags locating the source.”

Citizens like Prof Shaktipada Patra believe that the use of the polluting bags cannot be prevented unless regular monitoring by district and civic administrations continued and fines were levied on offenders.

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