Discarded plastics pose a threat to human health and environment


Plastic is the general term for a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic polymerisation products. The versatility of plastics has led its use in almost everything we use today. The all-pervasive use of plastics stem from the benefits it has to offer - lightness, flexibility, durability and water-resistance - to name a few. Various types of plastic polymers are widely used throughout the world for a variety of useful purposes. The most popular plastic polymers include polyenthylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene, nylon, tetra-phthalate (PET), polyurethenes, etc.

However, the biggest current problem with the conventional plastics is the associated environmental concerns, including non-biodegradability, release of toxic pollutants, litter and impacts on landfill as a result of the production and disposal of petroleum and petroleum-based plastics. Of late, indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste, mostly containing plastic carry bags is a prime cause for concern. The disposal of plastic bags is not just become an eye-soar, but is clogging the drainage system, disturbing the ecological sanctity of waterbodies as well as interfering with the recharge of underground water. Accumulated plastics choke municipal sewer lines and storm water drains, and clog the bar-screens of sewage treatment plants, often resulting in waterlogging. The recent Mumbai flood is a case in point. In addition, animals often consume plastic waste causing internal injury, intestinal blockage and starvation, sometimes leading to death. Unscientific disposal of plastic waste also causes landslides in the hills.

To solve these problems, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India issued the 'Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999' under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 with the dual objective of containing environmental problems caused by the littering of plastic carry bags, and health problems arising from consumption of ready-to-eat foodstuff in plastic bags made from recycled material. The Rules banned the manufacture, storage, sale and/or use of plastic carry bags having less than 20-micron (20-micron equivalent to 0.2 mm) thickness. Thereafter, in an amendment of the Plastic Rules issued in 2003, the MoEF prohibited the manufacture, sale and use of carry bags below the size of 8" x 12" (20 cm x 30 cm).

However, littering of plastic bags remained to be a significant environmental problem. While consumers continue to litter them, rag pickers do not receive any incentive to collect the thin bags because to earn a reasonable amount of money, they have to collect a huge quantity. As a result, rag pickers do not collect these bags, which remain littered on the streets. In order to solve this problem more effectively, many states of the country have imposed special restrictions on the use of plastic carry bags in their respective states, including blanket ban in some. From time to time, the Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal and the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), too, has passed a number of regulations to restrict the use of plastic carry bags within the state of West Bengal. An account of the restrictions on plastic carry bags in West Bengal is given below.

Blanket Ban in Ecologically Sensitive Areas

Blanket Ban in Heritage/Tourist Sites

  1. Indian Botanic Garden (Shibpore, Howrah);
  2. Zoological Garden
  3. Subhas Sarobar
  4. Rabindra Sarobar
  5. Victoria Memorial Hall
  6. National Library
  7. Millennium Park
  8. Bandel Church, Bandel, Hooghly
  9. Belurmatah, Belur, Howrah
  10. Hajarduari Palace, Murshidabad
  11. Science City Complex
  12. Nicco Park
  13. Nalban Boating Complex
  14. Swabhumi
  15. Indian Museum
  16. Birla Planetarium
  17. Eden Garden
  18. Nehru Children Museum
  19. Birla Industrial and Technological Museum
  20. Barrackpore Gandhi Ghat
  21. New Digha Paryatan Kendra, Hooghly
  22. Soakhal Energy Park, Hooghly
  23. Energy Education Park
  24. Strand Road (including Church Road, Chandannagar, Hooghly)
  25. Chhuti Amusement Park (Chandannagar, Hooghly)
  26. KMDA Park (Chandannagar, Hooghly)
  27. Banobitan (Salt Lake)
  28. Citizen Park
  29. Deshyapriya Park
  30. Paddapukur (Lansdowne)
  31. Allen Park;
  32. Macpherson Square
  33. Victoria Park
  34. Leonard Square
  35. College Square
  36. Hedua
  37. Deshbandhu Park
  38. Shradhanand Park
  39. Talla Park
  40. Santragachi Lake (Jheel) [extending up to five metres from the highest water line].

Carry bags made of paper, cloth, jute and other eco-friendly materials can be used as alternatives to non-biodegradable plastic carry bags. Heres a list of organisations in Kolkata who manufactures such bags. If you are interested to obtain these bags in small/bulk scale, please feel free to contact them.


Sl. No.

Name of the organisation

Contact details

Name of the contact person

01. Lighthouse for the Blind 174, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road,
Kolkata -700 029
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91-033-2466 4227
Shri Prabir Majumder
02. Helen Keler Badhir Vidyalaya Borakhola Krishakpalli
Kolkata-700 099
West Bengal, India
Tel:+91-033-2426 7731 / 98361 30078
Smt. Madhumita Dutta
03. Surul Supriti Society Vill.: Surul; P.O. Sriniketan
Birbhum, Pin 731236
Tel: +91-03436-264136/264039
Shri Sukanto Laha
04. Nari Seva Sangha 1/1, Gariahat Road, Jodhpur Park,
Kolkata-700 068
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91-033-2473 3978
05. IPER (Institute of Psychological & Educational Research) P 39/1, Prince Anwar Shah Road,
CIT Scheme 114A
Kolkata-700 045
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91-033-2417 4715/6991, +91-033-2440 6030
Fax: +91-033-2440 4553 / 2409 0003
Smt Bijli Mullick / Titas Mitra
06. Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy (IICP) P 35/1 Taratalla Road,
Kolkata 700 088.
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91-033-2401 3488/0240, 98313 07399
Fax: +91-033-2401 4177
Shri Biswanath Majhi / Debasis Biswas
07. Dipanwita Samashti Unnayan Samiti Uttar Tangra,
Rajarhat, Dhapa Ghat,
Kolkata – 700 105.
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91-033-2329 7118(O)
08. Swarup 61, West Kamalpur, Dum Dum Cantt.
Kolkata-700 028.
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91 93396 74433
Shri Debasish Bhattacharya
09. Amrapali Creations 17, Nimchand Moitra Street,
Kolkata – 700 035.
West Bengal, India
Tel: (O) 98300 20182 / 2397 1299 / 98319 11754
Shri Debasish Bhattacharya
10. Jute Knick Knack Vill. Ramnagar, Moynagarh, P.O.Raipur, Maheshtala, 24 Pgns (S).
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91 92316 53348
Smt Swapna Roy
11. Cheshta 89 C, Moulana Kalam Azad Sarani,
Kolkata – 700 054.
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91 33 2280 4230/2344 8720
Smt Chandra Mitra
12. Clubb International Pvt Ltd 2, Mayur Bhanj Road
Kolkata-700 023
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91-033-2449 5293
Telefax: +91-033-2409 9070
Shri Tarun Mullick
13. All India Women’s Conference P5/1, Beliaghata Main Road
Kolkata-700 010
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91-033-2363 1228
14. STS Systems 17B, Rupchand Mukherjee Lane,
Flat 001, Ground floor,
Kolkata – 700 025.
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91-033-2455 3727/4062/5708, +91-033-2485 3275(F)
Shri Arunendu Banerjee / Smt Sudeshna Banerjee
15. Women's Interlink Foundation 21/1, Old Ballygunj Lane,
Kolkata – 700 019.
West Bengal, India
Tel: +91-033-2281 5507/08
Smt. Aloka Mitra


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