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HC bans food items in non-biodegradable packing from April 1, 2013

 

The Himachal Pradesh High Court (HC) has banned the packing of food items in non-biodegradable material from April 1. The HC passed the order on a public interest litigation.

Passing the directions, the HC observed, “A balance has to be struck between the economy, the need to provide essential items to the poor at a minimal cost and the need to prevent the degradation of the environment.”

The HC passed the order after perusing a report filed by the committee constituted by it. The committee had mentioned that junk food items were tasty, but low in fibre content. It had also mentioned that those items had high calorific value and large amounts of refined flour, fat and preservatives.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol observed, “The committee has indicated that junk food items are harmful and lead to diseases such as obesity, colon cancer, diabetes and low intelligence quotient in children. We had indicated that the health of children was more important than profits of private companies.”

It further observed, “We are not issuing directions that such items be banned because that is not within the purview of the court. The least we can do is to direct that these harmful items should be sold only in biodegradable packing and not in non-biodegradable packing.”

The HC also observed, “Some items identified are normally not packaged. In case those are packaged, those will have to comply with our order and be sold only in biodegradable packing.” It directed that food items identified by the committee in its report, including chips and biscuits, would not be sold in the state in non-biodegradable packing from April 1.

The Tribune (16-01-2013)