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Agra bans plastic bags to curb pollution

Times of India, Delhi, 20th June 2014

 With an aim to curb the rising pollution in Yamuna, the Agra district administration has decided to strictly implement the ban on use of polythene in the city. For the same cause, the municipal authorities have been asked to place barricades at Yamuna ghats to resist locals for throwing garbage and polythene into the river. In December 2012, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court ordered the state government to impose a ban on plastic bags across the state.

Heading a meeting of senior administrative and municipal authorities on Thursday, divisional commissioner Pradeep Bhatnagar instructed the officials to place an immediate ban on the use of polythene below 40 microns in the town. Special measures have been directed to the civic body regarding the use and sale of plastic and polythene bags near Taj Trapezium zone. Orders were also passed to place wastepaper bins near the bathing ghats for people to deposit polythene bags and other waste.

"The polythene nuisance has to be curbed as it was a major source of pollution in the city. Not only are the bags an eyesore, but their use is proving a major hurdle to clean up the city," said Bhatnagar. GC Upadhyay, a senior citizen and an environmentalist, said that the residents of Agra must rise against the use of polythene. People have to change their mindsets and life-styles and continue to pressure government agencies to implement the law. Agra produces more than 1,000 tonnes of waste daily. The Agra Municipal Corporation has so far been able to process only around 500 tonnes through various recycling ways. The Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules 1999, several directives of the Supreme Court and the notifications of the ministry of environment and forests, ban the use of polythene bags under 20 microns.