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Plastic littering in public to become cognisable offence

PANAJI: In order to curb the plastic menace in public places and water bodies, the state government is in the process of amending the Goa Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act 1996 to make plastic littering a cognisable offence with enhanced punishment.
In a written reply to a starred question raised by Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardessai, the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who also holds science and technology portfolio, had informed the House that the government is mulling to make littering in public a cognisable offence and to punish the offender with a severe penalty.
It may be noted that, in March 2002, government through a notification, had asked officials of municipal councils, police, excise department, panchayat secretaries and collectors under section 11 of Goa Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act 1996 to initiate action against offenders which include imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to Rs 5000, or both.
Interestingly, as early as in August, 2002, the government issued another direction under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to the concerned authorities to strictly prohibit carrying, use and sale of non-biodegradable plastic bottles and plastic carry bags in certain coastal regulation zones (CRZ) including gardens and parks in Panaji and neighbouring Caranzalem, Dona Paula beach and directed to impose a maximum fine of Rs 100 and take action under section 188 of the IPC.
It further notified boundaries within the vicinity of heritage monuments and churches at Old Goa as ‘no plastic zone’ and, in addition to that, it also directed the chief conservator of forests to prohibit the use of plastic in Khotigao, Mahavir and Bondla wild life sanctuaries.
Despite a ban on carrying, use and sale of plastic, state still suffers from extensive and indiscriminate disposal/littering of plastic bags and bottles which have caused severe blocking of water ways and other adverse effects.

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