The Madhya Pradesh High Court has issued some important directives to the State to curb ‘plastic pollution’.
Justices Sheel Nagu and Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava, while disposing of a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Gaurav Pandey, directed the Government to issue directions to Schools and Colleges to stop use of plastic immediately and also to the industries to take immediate steps to stop the production and use of single use plastic.
It also issued following directives:
The State and its instrumentalities shall issue directives ensuring manufacturing and marketing of carry bags and packets made of non-plastic bio-degradable material on highly subsidized rates to be affordable to the common man. For this purpose, the State should encourage the small scale industry to manufacture and market such bags/packets by establishing necessary plants for this purpose in adequate number in all districts in the State of M.P.
The State shall install adequate number of Water Dispensers in the city area to make available pure water to the citizens.
The State should install single use plastic bottles crushing machines in every possible public places in adequate number and on crushing particular numbers of such bottles, deposit return scheme may be started.
The State shall install Recycling Plants at various places;
The State shall use plastic/polythene waste for Thermal Electric Production Plant.
The Court also observed that duty to ensure clean and unpolluted environment is as much of the State and its functionaries as it is of the citizen.In this context, the Court also made the following suggestions to the Citizens/Authorities/Print & Electronic Media:
Citizens should be made aware of the causes and effects of plastic pollution and how to prevent it.
A campaign must be started to immediately stop using non-biodegradable plastic/polythene.
Citizens should not purchase single use plastic/ polythene water bags etc.
Citizens should use cloth / jute made bags for carrying purchases.
They may also themselves prepare paper bags from daily newspaper of their house.
citizens should not embed any plastic/ polythene waste in soil/ land.
Citizens (parents/teachers) should teach children not to use plastic bottles/ tiffins in schools/ park/ malls etc.
Citizens should cooperate in this task with different Authorities of the Government.
Citizens should carry non-plastic waterbottles/daily need articles, which are reusable for many years together.
Similarly, it is expected of the Print & Electronic Media to propagate and install awareness amongst the citizens that use of nonbiodegradable polythene/plastic has become a national problem. The Media should create an atmosphere in the society for non-use of nonbiodegradable polythene/plastic articles by publishing relevant topics regularly in the media and should also attempt to make the people aware regarding hazardous results of use of nonbiodegradable plastic/ polythene.
For awareness amongst the children, the subject of adverse affects of use of plastic/polythene and means to manage its waste should be incorporated in curriculum.
The judgment also discusses Polythene is a poly (methylene). The bench further observed:
It is well said that if you want to survive for years together, you are required to protect the environment. Ecosystem is one of most important factor which protects the environment. Ecosystem is defined as “a system wherein community of living organisms is in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system”. Such biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Ecosystem is controlled by external and internal factors. External factors such as climate, parent material which form the soil and topography, control the overall structure of ecosystem but are not themselves influenced by the ecosystem. Internal factors are controlled by decomposition, root competition, shading, disturbance, succession etc. That means, an ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to form a bubble of life. In the light of above, banning of polythene/plastic bags has to be considered as a most significant moment of life. If any material which is generally used is not biodegradable then the whole ecosystem will be affected and indirectly will affect all living organisms of the world.