‘We are further unable to understand as to why plastic/polythene even above the thickness of 50 microns should be allowed?’
Some bold, effective decisions should be taken by the State of Bihar and make our State "Plastic Free Zone", remarked division bench of the Patna High Court while hearing a suo motu writ petition recently.
The suo motu writ petition was registered after taking note of a news article in the Dainik Bhaskar Gaya edition regarding pollution caused to the historical river ‘Sarovar’.
It was reported that devotees buy some feed from outside the Mahabodhi temple and offer it to the fishes of the Sarovar but those feed are supplied in polythene bags and often they throw the polythene bags along with the feed into the Sarovar which is definitely affecting the fauna and flora of the Sarovar and also the entire ecosystem of the temple.
A bench of Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice S Kumar observed: “When we read the newspaper and recalled our experience also it reminded us a poem by Rastrakavi Ramdhari Singh Dinkar from his collection "Seepi aur Shankh" which is regarding "cry of lake". We are tempted to quote it here:-
"मत छुओ इस झील को।
कंकडी मारो नहीं,
पततयाँ डारो नहीं,फू ल मत बोरो।
और कागज की तरी इसमे नहीं छोडो।
खे ल मे तु मको पु लक-उनमे ष होता है ,
लहर बनने मे सतलल को कले श होता है ।"
The District Magistrate-cum-Chairman, Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee, submitted before the court that remedial measures are being taken for preventing influx of all kinds of plastics bags in the temple premises itself and Penal provisions are also being carved out for the said purpose and strict vigil is one of the steps which is being taken.
“We are happy to note it but whether it is going to serve the purpose entirely and whether it is not possible that the influx of plastics is prevented in the entire vicinity of the Mahabodhi Temple or even why not in entire Bodh Gaya where so many temples have come up in course of time and constructed by different countries. However, looking into the menace which we are facing due to use of polythene bags and other plastic materials, why it should not be extended for the Patna High Court entire State? Why plastics are to be allowed in the entire State? It is baffling and intriguing that even after knowing fully well that huge production and use of plastics will come finally as garbage, chocking the drains etc. and would be detrimental factor for the ecosystem and environment, why the State of Bihar is still allowing it for public use,” the bench said.
It was then told that there is some statute or executive decision which prevents the use of plastic bags below the thickness of 50 microns in Patna.
The bench further remarked: “Now the question is whether it is being implemented? Whether the same has been enforced? Whether plastics below the thickness of 50 microns are not in use?”
Directing the Chief Secretary of the state to be present before it, for sharing the state’s views, the bench said: “We are further unable to understand as to why plastic/polythene even above the thickness of 50 microns should be allowed? The answer as given by the District Magistrate is that they are recyclable. In such situation, it is even worse because it will bring us into a vicious circle of production of plastic and its use and recyclings. We are forgetting that how much garbage would be formed chocking the sewage system and ultimately affecting the environment and what would be the quantity of obnoxious gases that would be released in the process of production and recycling continuously adversely affecting our atmosphere, for example, leading to Green House Effect etc. Our desire is that some bold, effective decisions should be taken by the State of Bihar and make our State "Plastic Free Zone".”