The figures are staggering. A Central Pollution Control Committee (CPCB) study has found that while Hazrat Nizamuddin, Old Delhi and New Delhi railway stations together churn out at least 6,758 kg of plastic waste every day, the international and domestic airports are not far behind with 3,662 kg per day.
But a closer look reveals that the density of waste generation is more at the airports. While the per capita plastics waste generation is approximately 9 gm/day at the railway stations, it is a high 69 gm/day at the airports. Despite the ban on plastic bags in the Capital, they form 30 per cent of the waste in the railway stations, the major chunk being plastic bottles. However, they form just 10 per cent of the waste generated at the airports, most probably because the shops inside enforce the ban on plastic bags. The main generators of plastic waste at the airports are the caterers, found the study.
“We found lots of plastic bags in the waste. This maybe because passengers coming from other parts of the country do not know the rules here. It the responsibility of the airports and railway stations to make this known,” says CPCB chairman S P Gautam.
But it is not just the passengers who are at fault. A random check revealed that plastic bags are being freely used at the airports and railway stations despite the Rs 1-lakh penalty on those flouting the ban.
But the major problem is plastic bottles. The CPCB now thinks proper waste disposal channels are necessary to get rid of them. “Given the quantity of waste being generated, we have recommended that the plastic be properly used. Ideally, it should be incinerated in cement kilns or used in making roads. Proper channels have to be made for re-use of waste, there is no other way. This is part of our recommendations,” he says.
It is inexcusable that authorities are unable to check plasitc bag use even in a small, specific area like airport or station. Any ban or law that cannot be enforced is worthless and had better be scrapped. T0 hold passangers from other cities responsible is baseless since they are not allowed to carry any such thing by the security. The least that they can do is to stop bags to start with and deal with bottles in the second stage. On rail stations one finds heaps and heaps of pouches of guthka/ panmasala. Can the makers of gutkha be forced to use paper pouches? Can we not enforce a strict ban on sale of gutkha on rail stations? It is certainly no impossible to rid the country of plastic bags if the government is serious and does not yeild to the plastic lobby.There is no way just because there is no will.