Officials of the Urban Development department averred that strict actions are being taken to implement the government order regarding complete prohibition on polythene bags with less than 50 microns thickness. Regarding single-use plastic, publicity is being facilitated consistently through traders’ associations, school students and newspapers among other means. The officials stated this during a presentation in front of the chief secretary Utpal Kumar Singh on the plan for making five cities of Uttarakhand- Dehradun, Rishikesh, Mussoorie, Nainital and Haldwani plastic-free by 2020.
It was also stated in the meeting that under the Uttarakhand Anti-Littering and Anti-Spitting Act 2016, a total of 1560 challans have been issued so far and total Rs 7.57 lakh collected in penalties from those caught violating the Act. Officials also stated that the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board is preparing a manual and a list of the types of prohibited plastics. It was clarified that in areas under an urban local body, the use of any type of plastic bag, disposables made from plastic or polystyrene (thermocol) and such packing materials are completely banned. In the first stage, in five cities of the state- Dehradun, Rishikesh, Mussoorie, Nainital and Haldwani, challans were issued to 4947 persons under the available provisions and a total sum of Rs 58.13 lakh had been collected from these persons in penalties till October 2019. As part of the Swachchhta hi Sewa campaign undertaken in the state from September 11 to October 27, about 35.76 metric tonnes of plastic was collected and 13.88 metric tonnes of plastic was recycled. Fund has been released for procurement of plastic compactor in Dehradun, Rishikesh and Haldwani. A plastic compactor is available in Mussoorie while the recycling of plastic collected in Nainital will be undertaken in Haldwani. Officials further informed that a plan for making fuel from waste plastic is proposed in Haridwar for which the request for proposal (RFP) is slated to be published in the near future. Finance secretary Amit Singh Negi, Forest secretary Arvind Singh Hyanki, additional secretary Chandresh Yadav and other officials concerned were also present in the meeting.