Supreme Court expresses concern over plastic waste

An SC bench questioned the seriousness of state governments’ efforts in taking effective measures for solid waste management


A file photo of plastic waste on the outskirts of Delhi. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
A file photo of plastic waste on the outskirts of Delhi. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday expressed concern about the hazardous impact of plastic bags on the environment while hearing a public interest litigation seeking a complete ban on plastic bags in the country.

A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, justices Madan B. Lokur and A.K. Sikri questioned the “seriousness” on part of the state governments in taking effective measures for solid waste management, particularly the management of plastic waste. The bench also lamented that despite having sufficient laws to deal with the issue of plastic waste, there was poor implementation.

The lawsuit filed by non-profit organisations (NPOs) Karuna Society for Animals and Nature (KSAN) and Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals alleged that consumption of plastic waste was leading to cattle and wildlife deaths with more than 40kg of plastic being found in the stomachs of some cows.

KSAN’s lawyer Shyam Divan told the court, “Having regard to the magnitude of the problem, there ought to be a complete ban on plastic bags, both the manufacture and their use.”

The court has appointed a three-member panel of lawyers to examine the Rajasthan government’s statement that it had banned the manufacture and use of plastic bags in the state since 2010. The panel will submit its report by 16 December.

On the feasibility of a complete ban, Bharti Chaturvedi, director, Chintan, an NPO that has done extensive work in recycling and waste management in Delhi, said, “...it is (possible). We have to treat these things (manufacture of plastic) as unacceptable.”

More From Livemint