Shimla: The sale and storage of all non-essential edibles like potato chips and candies in polythene packs will be banned in Himachal Pradesh from Monday, officials said in Shimla on Sunday. Himachal will be the first state in the country to ban polythene-packed edible items in compliance with the order of the state High Court which has completely prohibited use of polythene packaging for non-essential food items.
The High Court had ruled that non-essential eatables like potato chips, cookies, candy, chewing gum, ice cream, chocolates, noodles and candies are junk food and cannot be sold in polythene packings. However, essential items like milk and vegetable oils are exempted from the ban, the officials said. "There is a need to prevent degradation of environment," a division bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol had observed while hearing a petition on indiscriminate use of plastic.
The Court directed the government to impose a blanket ban across the state from April 1 but the government pleaded for affording some time to the traders to clear their stocks. "We are of the opinion that there should be a ban on only those non-essential items which fall in the category of junk food such as wafers, chips, sweets, noodles, chocolates, ice cream candy, biscuits and 'namkeen'", the Court said.
"These items should be brought into Himachal only in biodegradable packaging and even soft drinks should be brought in glass bottles or other biodegradable packaging but not in non-biodegradable packaging", the bench had said in its order. Earlier, the government had imposed ban on use of polythene bags made of non-biodegradable material and disposable plastic products.