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HC bans polythene-packed edible items from Jan 26

The HP High Court today directed the state to impose a ban on the sale/stocking of 25 junk food items in plastic packaging in the state from January 26.

Dismissing a bunch of petitions filed by manufacturers and others wherein they had challenged a notification issued by the state vide which it had banned these items in plastic packaging, a Division Bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice VK Sharma directed the state to ensure ban on storage, supply, sale and entry of non-essential food items packaged in plastic/ non-biodegradable materials from January 26.

This excludes drinking water (both packed and mineral). The Bench further directed the state government to ensure that edible oils/fats should not be sold in plastic bottles/pouches and should be packed in tin containers. It said from March 31, milk and milk products, edible oils/fats, fruits and vegetable products and meat products would be manufactured, transported, sold, packaged and distributed as per regulations of the Food Safety and Standards Regulations.

While passing these directions, the Bench headed by Justice Rajiv Sharma observed: “The state is famous as a tourist destination. It is the duty of the state to make every effort to preserve and conserve the environment and fragile ecology of the state”.

It further observed: “It is not only the environment of the state but also the health of children, who consume most of these items. It cannot be protected if the sale of such items is not banned in plastic packaging”.

The Bench also directed the government to ensure that from March 31, 2014, no food stuff, including primary and essential foods, was manufactured, transported, sold, packaged and distributed without conforming to the Food Safety and Standards Act. The court also directed the state to appoint a Food Commissioner within four weeks. The court directed the District Magistrates and the Superintendents of Police to enforce the ban in all districts, otherwise they would be held liable and accountable.

The court also directed all the municipal authorities throughout the state, including the MC, Shimla, to ensure safe collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste so that no damage was caused to environment. The court also directed all municipal authorities in the state to manage plastic waste by undertaking “waste audit” at the beginning of the year.

Items banned in non-biodegradable packing

  • Chips/wafers
  • Kurkure/mad angles
  • Biscuits
  • Namkeen
  • Lollypop/Candy/candy bar/toffees
  • Cookies
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolates
  • Noodles
  • Samosas
  • Pakoras
  • Pizzas
  • Burgers
  • French fries
  • Colas, carbonated drinks
  • Shakes
  • Synthetic and fruit beverages
  • Sweets
  • Naan, pav bhajee, golgappa and street foods

The Tribune (27-12-2013)