October 28th, 2014Polythene bag use rampant despite ban
Use of polythene bags was banned in Vrindavan last year. Then, activists had taken warmly to the Allahabad high court order, hoping that the menace of litter would finally be dented in the city. But fast forward a year, the whole town remains strewn with polythene of all shapes, hues and sizes.
“The (high court’s) decision was greeted with relief, but unfortunately the order could not be implemented for want of will,” said activist Madan Gopal Sharma.
The Mathura district magistrate was asked to form a committee to monitor the implementation of the ban. The court ruling was the result of a petition filed by Braj Life-Line Welfare Association, which underscored the failure of sewage treatment plants in the district behind the mounds of litter ubiquitous in the city.
The division bench asked the district magistrate to file a status report on the state of cleanliness and sanitation in the district. The civic officials were also asked to launch an awareness campaign to discourage use of polythene and plastic bags. However, their efforts are hardly visible when one walks on the road.
Heaps of garbage and poly-waste remain at their old haunts, keeping flies and mosquitoes busy through the day. Quintals of polythene and plastic bags are dumped by pilgrims and locals all over.
Ballabh Pandit, a Mathura resident, was terse when asked about the menace of litter in the city. He felt that the local civic body should taken stringent action against people using polythene bags. “Perhaps even ban them if someone is caught using polythene bags,” he said, before sardonically adding that the heaps of litter would have become mountains by now if not for the rag-pickers.
Nandan Shrotriya, another resident, questioned aloud how the municipal body cannot succeed in preventing the use of poly-bags. “Many municipal bodies in the country have succeeded in checking polythene nuisance, so why can’t the Mathura district administration work on this? I think it is a case of dereliction of duty,” she said.
Friends of Vrindavan convener Jagan Nath Poddar said the inaction has been “a contempt of court” and was of the opinion that the people responsible should be hauled up and questioned.
The litter tentacle has sunk its talons not just in Vrindavan. The problem has spread across all Braj towns, including Goverdhan and Gokul.
Vrindavan local body chief Mukesh Gautam admitted that it was a major problem, but complained of lack of resources for not successfully following the high court’s order. And when the Mathura district officials were asked to respond, they stated that state pollution board was in the process of taking necessary action.