With just a day remaining for the ban on specific plastic items to come into effect, enforcement authorities such as civic bodies and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) are gearing up to enforce the ban.
Howvever, the authorities are yet to receive any detailed communication from the State government on types of punishment against violators, and powers and role of various enforcement agencies.
According to the Government Order dated June 25, issued by the Environment and Forest departments, no industry can manufacture, store, transport, supply, sale or distribute use and throwaway plastics. No person, including shopkeeper, vendor, wholesaler, retailer, hawker or salesman, can use throwaway and one-time use plastics.
The order further stated that Collectors and Commissioners of Corporations and Municipalities and District Environment Engineers will take steps to prevent the use of one-time use plastics.
But, according to sources, there is still no clarity on types of punishment, whether it is fine or criminal action against violators, powers of local bodies and the role of enforcement agencies. They are in a fix on the methods to be adopted for enforcing the plastic ban.
As far as Tiruchi Corporation is concerned, it organised a month-long awareness campaign in different parts of the city to sensitise the dangers of using one-time use plastics.
Troupes and folk artistes engaged by the Corporation conducted street plays in Srirangam, K. Abhishekapuram, Golden Rock and Ariyamangalam zones.
The authorities held a number of meetings with wholesale and retail traders of plastic carry bags, owners and managers of departmental stores, grocery and meat traders and owners of restaurants and eateries and impressed upon the need of avoiding plastic carry bags. They were warned of severe action if they used banned items from January 1.
Ravichandran, Commissioner, Tiruchi City Corporation, told,that the detailed communication on enforcement was expected anytime. The authorities had been apprised of enforcing the plastic ban from Tuesday. They would carry out regular and surprise raids to prevent use of banned plastic items.
He said the Corporation had already banned the manufacturing, storing and selling of plastics less than 50 microns in the city limit since January 26. Besides confiscating the banned plastics, the Corporation had powers to impose fine up to ₹5,000.