Govt fails to enforce ban on plastic bags

Kathmandu, August 24

The government’s ambitious move to impose a nationwide ban on plastic bags has become a complete failure in just a month after a formal announcement was made to this effect.

The government had announced a nationwide ban on plastic bags from July 16 this year. Department of Environment, which is responsible for implementing the ban, said people have been ignoring the ban due to lack of mechanism to punish ban violators.

Other than merely announcing the ban, no move has been taken to ensure its implementation . Neither have the general public stopped using plastic bags, nor have the plastic bag industries stopped manufacturing them.

“We aggressively extended the ban from the Kathmandu Valley to the entire country, but it failed to yield results due lack of mechanism to punish ban violators,” Ganesh Kumar Shrestha, Director General at the department told The Himalayan Times.

According to Nepal Plastic Manufacturers’ Association, manufacturers were compelled to manufacture plastic bags for sustenance as the government had not offered them any alternative.

Plastic bag manufacturers have been demanding that the government either compensate them or give them another six months to switch to other products.

The association had strongly protested the government’s move to ban plastic bags and had demanded that the decision be revoked. According to the association, at least 140 out of 200 existing plastic bag factories had to be shut down after the ban.

According to Section 18 of the Environment Protection Act 1997, if a person or organisation commits any act contrary to the act or rules framed under the act, they may be punished with a fine of up to Rs 50,000.