The state environment department’s ban on plastic is set to include thermocol as well. The notification is likely to be issued on Monday.
West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), which is resolute to enforce the ban, urged people to make the city free from the menace of single-use plastic and thermocol.
“Curbing the use of plastic for long term would require collective efforts by government agencies, plastic bag producers, traders and most importantly citizens. If the citizens say no to plastic, nothing can stop the success of the programme to free the city from plastic,” said Dr Rajesh Kumar, member secretary, WBPCB.
WBPCB has already roped in 10,000 students to make the schools free of plastic menace. Each student would be trained to pursue not only their parents but all their relatives to give up single-use plastic.
Thermocol, an expanded form of polystyrene, a polymer (also known as Styrofoam), has become the most sought-after material in education and packaging sectors as it is easy to handle. However, a many people remain oblivious of the adverse effects of polystyrene, said environment experts .
Since thermocol has no recyclable economic value, it is burnt in landfills. It poses serious health hazards to people,” said Subhas Dutta, an environment activist.
“Plastic bags defy any kind of disposal, be it through recycling, burning or land filling. When it is dumped into rivers, streams and sea, it contaminates the water, soil, marine life as well as the air we breathe. When plastic is burned, it releases a host of poisonous chemicals, including dioxin, into the air,” a report of the Toxics Link, which carried out a detail study on Kolkata’s plastic waste, said.
However, this is not the first time that plastic bag is banned. Way back in 1999, the ministry of environment and forest had issued the recycled manufacture and usage rules to restrict the use of plastic carry bags having less than 20 micron (0.2mm) thickness.
Source: Times of India