Heavy fine for plastic users‚ distributors

KATHMANDU, APR 21: The government has decided to impose a fine of Rs 50,000 on consumption, distribution and storage of plastic from today. Anyone involved in import, sale, distribution and use of plastic bags, that are less than 40 microns, will be slapped the fine.

The distribution, consumption and storage of plastic bags below 40 microns thick has been prohibited in Kathmandu ever since the Valley was declared a plastic free zone on April 14.

Three monitoring teams, comprising representatives from the Department of Environment, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, and Metropolitan Police Commissioners Office, have been dispatched to monitor the market and regulate the use, sale and consumption of plastic bags.

About 1,000 kg polythene bags have been seized from markets in the Valley after the ban came into effect, as per the Department of Science, Technology and Environment. Rup Narayan Bhattarai, deputy director general at DoE said, “Offenders will be punished with a fine ranging between Rs 5,000 and Rs 50,000 as per Section 18 of the Environment Protection Act, 1997.”

Krishna Chandra Paudel, Secretary at MoSTE, said citizens should contribute to the plastic-free Valley campaign for health, environment and greenery.

The plastic ban is an attempt to ensure a pollution free country. “Citizens should use cloth bags, jute bags and environment-friendly carry bags instead of plastic bags to reduce pollution and garbage,” Paudel urged. A notice published by MoSTE in Nepal Gazette on March 1, said ‘a decision to ban plastic was taken by exercising power conferred by Section 7(3) of the Environment Protection Act, 1997.’