From March 31, 2016, there will be a complete ban on use of disposable glasses and plates in Manali in Himachal Pradesh. “Initially, the ban on use of disposable glasses and plates will be imposed in the main town area and only extended later to areas falling under our entire jurisdiction. These items, especially glasses, can be seen strewn across the town. Tourists prefer buying items like disposable glasses and plates and then throw them anywhere,” said Manali Municipal Council President Shabnam Tanwar, in a report in The Times Of India.
Environmentalist M C Thakur, who was instrumental in banning use of plastic bags in Himachal Pradesh, said, “Polythene bags are spoiling the environment in the hill state. At an environment meet on Rohtang pass in 1994, then chief minister Virhbhadra Singh had taken concrete step to ban plastic bags in the state and it was banned in Manali in 1995. It is a matter of happiness that Manali is going a step ahead and banning disposable glasses and plates.”
Manali municipal council and administration have started a drive to clean up garbage and remove unauthorised encroachments. All shopkeepers and households will have to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 if garbage is found in front of their property. If any tourist or person is caught throwing garbage, he will be made to clean up the mess.
Earlier in Shimla, according to The Tribune, the high court intervened once again to help preserve the fragile hill environment. The state government has taken a decision to make Himachal “polythene free” by imposing a ban on storage and use of non-biodegradable disposable plastic products like plastic cup, plate and glass after the court expressed serious concern over the degradation of environment being caused by such waste.
Hearing this matter, a Bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol observed that the state must adopt a multi-pronged strategy to tackle the problem. It had not only to legislate and lay down policies but also make the people aware and ensure strict compliance of the rules. The Bench further observed that there was also need to take effective steps for checking use of non-biodegradable packaging material used in packaging non-essential consumable items and other goods.