A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu on Tuesday rapped the State Governments for their inaction in banning the use and manufacture of plastic bags in their States. The Bench urged the States to be compassionate about the pain and suffering of animals who consume these bags on the streets.
The Bench observed, “Imagine the pain and suffering of animals. You sit in AC rooms and say that you have framed regulations. Is there any seriousness on the part of the state governments to implement the rules and laws? How much does it cost to print statute?”
“States must tell us how far they have succeeded in implementing the law. State must have some sympathy for animals,” it said, adding that “it is a grim situation”.
Principal Secretary of Urban Development, Ministry of Karnataka was summoned for absence of a proper waste disposal mechanism.
Additionally, a three member committee of lawyers was set up in order to visit different cities of Rajasthan, in order to monitor the implementation of the ban in the State.
The Court was hearing a PIL filed by Karuna Society for Animals & Nature, Puttaparthi, VSPCA Vishakhapatnam and three individuals, Pradeep Nath, Clementien Pauws and Rukmini Sekhar.
The petition says, “The ingestion of plastic from plastic bags chokes the stomach of cows and as detailed below, in the Petitioners’ experience, cows are filled with plastic waste at times over 50 kilos in weight. What happens to be a ‘healthy’ cow is in fact a ‘plastic-choked cow’ or a cow full of plastic.”
“One of the significant contributing factors to the ill health among many species, including cows and bulls, is the gastro-intestinal injuries caused by ingestion of plastic in the form of plastic carrying bags. These bags which have been used to carry food or food-waste may contain food remnants and smell like food to animals. Animals cannot necessarily differentiate between the food and the plastic and so ingest the plastic in their quest for life-sustaining food,” it adds.
The petitioners sought following the directions from the court:
* Direct Centre to issue directions to all States, to prohibit or phase out in a time-bound manner open garbage disposal system and remove open garbage receptacles
* Appropriate directions to State Governments from the Centre to implement door-to-door garbage collection and prevent animals from moving around garbage storage facilities
* Municipalities must segregate all plastic waste from other waste
* Direct Centre to issue directions under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, prohibiting use, sale and disposal of plastic bags in all municipal areas
* Provide animal shelters, rescue homes and veterinary services, and treat cows and other animals suffering from stomach ache due to ingestion of plastic
It also demanded that proper garbage receptacles be provided in all cities and towns covered by the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 such that waste is not exposed to the open atmosphere and stray animals are not allowed to move around the waste storage facilities.