Chennai: Upholding the validity of the Tamil Nadu government order banning manufacturing, storage and distribution of certain items of plastics, the Madras high court directed the government to ensure that the ban order on various items of plastics is scrupulously followed and implemented without allowing it to remain on paper.
A division bench comprising Justices R.Subbiah and Krishnan Ramasamy dismissed a batch of 37 petitions from Chennai Non Woven's Private Limited and others, challenging the government order dated June 25, 2018 imposing ban on the use and throwaway plastics such as plastic carry bags etc with effect from January 1, 2019.
The bench said the menace of one time use and throwaway plastic is felt throughout the world and environmentalists are keeping their fingers crossed to tackle its use and/or taking steps to reduce the solid waste generated. "Therefore, we feel that in the larger interest of public, the state government in discharge of its obligations enumerated under Article 246 of the Constitution of India, invoked the delegated powers vested in it, by the Central government under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, to which the state government is legislatively competent to do so", the bench added.
Rejecting the argument made on behalf of the petitioners as to the legislative competence of the state government to issue the order, the bench held that the state government was wholly justified in imposing the ban in exercise of its power under section 5 of the Act.
The bench said the state government has passed the order keeping in view the menace caused by one time use and throwaway plastics and to upkeep the public health and sanitation. If the burgeoning use of plastic goes unchecked, it wou-ld result in over flowing of plastic garbage in water bodies and chocking the public drains which would not only be an eye sore but also would result in spreading of sporadic diseases.
"As the continued and unwarranted use of plastic has caused a menace and resulted in mounting garbage, taking note of the fact that the plastic wastes tend to get embedded at different depths in soil due to long term disposal and cause reduction in rainfall infiltration and ground water discharge, inter alia to reduce solid waste, the state government has passed the order, which we feel is absolutely necessary. The government had taken note of the fact that most plastic carry bags are thrown into the bin soon after its intended use and had flooded the drains which are non-biodegradable in nature, which according to Additional Advocate General P.H.Arvindh Pandian, has necessitated the ban", the bench added....