HC-order to ban single-use plastic items28 January 2023
Gulam Rabbani :
The use of single use plastic products has been increased noticeably in the country in the recent years. These include bottles, glasses, cups, plates, boxes and spoons. At the end of use, these products are being thrown away everywhere.
As a result health risk is increasing on the one hand, the environment is getting polluted on the other hand. According to a study, plastic waste has increased more than 3 times in the last two decades in the capital alone.
Following a writ petition the High Court on January 6 in 2020 directed the concerned bodies of the government to ban the carrying, selling, use and marketing of the polythene or plastic bags and single use plastics in the coastal areas and in all hotels, motels and restaurants throughout the country within one year.
However the government bodies concerned have failed to comply with the High Court order.
The court also directed the government to strictly enforce the existing legal ban on polythene or plastic bags throughout the country through regular market monitoring, shutting down of polythene manufacturing factories and seizure of machineries.
The High Court Bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman passed the order after hearing the writ petition filed by eleven non-government organizations, including the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), on December 17, 2019.
The court also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain as to why they should not be declared that they have failed to enforce the existing legal bans on polythene or plastic bags and regulate hazardous single use plastics.
The court also wanted to know from the respondents to explain as to why they should not be directed to adopt and implement time bound action plan to introduce safe alternatives to polythene or plastic bags and phase out single use plastics items from the country by December 31, 2022.
Environment secretary, industries secretary, commerce secretary, water resources secretary, civil aviation and tourism secretary, textiles and jute secretary, director general of department of environment and chairman of Bangladesh plastic products producer and exporters' association were made respondents in the rule.
Meanwhile, the writ petitioners on January 26 this year sent a notice requesting the respondents to comply with the High Court order banning the carrying, selling, use and marketing of the polythene or plastic bags and single use plastics in the coastal areas and in all hotels, motels and restaurants throughout the country immediately.
S Hassanul Banna, one of the BELA's lawyers, said they have been notified through different types of media and their own observation that the authorities have failed to comply with the High Court order.
He further said the respondents will get seven days time to comply the HC order, and if they fail to carry out the HC order within this time we will file contempt of court petition against them.