Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also informed the Lok Sabha that a pilot project on biodegradable plastic is in the advance stages and its use can help rid the country of plastic waste to a large extent.
   
He said while there is no ban on plastic bags in the country, plastic bags below 40 microns are not allowed. He said due to poor enforcement, bags of 20 microns are also easily available.
   
"Bags of 40 microns can be recycled, but those of 20 microns cannot be. This is why they are discarded by those segregating waste for recycle...they are clogging the gutters, up to 50 kg of plastic bags have been found inside animals like cows, they pollute water," he said.
   
He said government is planing enhanced penalty on production of bags below 40 microns, "say up to Rs 10 lakh" by amending the Environment Protection Act and related rules.
   
Javadekar was of the view that units producing plastic bags below 40 microns can update their production facilities at little cost.
   
In his written reply, the Minister said Sikkim, Nagaland, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi have banned the use of plastic carry bags.
   
"Although no information has been provided by the state governments on the difficulties experienced by them in enforcement of ban on use of plastic bags, some of the factors making implementation of ban difficult apparently are ubiquitous use of plastic bags, higher cost of substitute bags, lack of awareness, weak enforcement mechanism in some local bodies," he said.

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