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Any <i>Jugaad</i> for plastic bag ban?

By Tanvir Khan | Last Updated: Sunday, January 25, 2009 - 13:37
Tanvir Khan
Hawk Eye

Well, the Government of Delhi has finally woken up and taken notice of the depleting Ozone layer and banned the use, sale and storage of plastic bags. Bio-degradable bags, they say, will now be encouraged.

It was in the reckoning for long, but the followers of laws and rules that we Indians are, I guess the government must have considered quite a lot before enforcing the ban. We actually have a crack code for every law or rule that comes in our way. The declaration is that anyone caught carrying plastic bags will be at a risk of facing a five-year jail term or a fine of one lakh rupees, or both. Sounds good, doesn’t it? I think it does for those who care for the environment that ultimately boils down to caring for oneself.

Now we have to carry a cloth bag or paper bag, when we go out shopping for groceries or at the dairy outlets for milk. All the shops and the shopping malls will have to provide their customers with paper carry bags too.

All the ban and penalty seems pretty cool for the cause of the environment, but will it actually be followed? I ask that question because, honestly, I haven’t seen many follow the traffic lights or use the subway for crossing the roads or even get their driving licenses made through the legal procedures. There is a <i>jugaad </i> to anything and everything in our country. I might sound blunt, but this is how it is and one would realize it if some unbiased thought is given to these things.

There was so much hype and hoopla about the smoking ban. But now it seems as if it was only a rumour. There was supposed to be a fine of Rs 200 on the person found smoking in public places. As far as I remember only 80 <i> challans</i> were issued on Day 1 of the ban. And after that, I never saw any news regarding the same. Well, I’m sure there aren’t only a hundred or so smokers in our country that has the second largest population on this planet.

I just hope that the same is not the case with the ban on the plastic bags, considering the deteriorating environmental condition in the world. Global warming has been on a rise since forever now. Thanks to the negligence by the people world over. The attitude that prevails is nothing-will-happen-with-just-one-charger-plugged. But that one unplugged charger or a fan or a light switched off actually makes the difference. And one person starting to carry bio-degradable bags is bound to make a difference. One plastic bag will burn less and the environment will be affected 0.0000001% lesser. There is a difference, without a doubt.

The point here to ponder over is the hefty fine, leave alone the imprisonment. Can a daily wage earner pay a fine of one lakh rupees if caught carrying a plastic bag? There are murderers roaming free in this country, or should I say some corrupt citizens even running this nation. So is it practical to impose these punishments? The fine for over speeding is about four hundred rupees. We generally get away with handing over a Rs 50 or a maximum of Rs 100 note to the policeman. As stated above, a <i>jugaad</i> for everything here.

So how much do we pay for a fine of Rs 1 lakh? 200 bucks? I don’t think so. The same 50 or 100 rupee note would do. Something better than nothing (in case they issue the <i>challan</i>) for the concerned authorities.

The citizens will have to put their foot down and support the government’s steps for a better environment. We need to fight for a universal cause of Global Warming, which seems a petty issue to most of us. That can be done to some extent if we dump the plastic bags for bio-degradable carry bags rather than finding <i>jugaads</i> of evading the penalty.

First Published: Sunday, January 25, 2009 - 13:37

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