New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday said it will consider whether to completely ban the use of plastic in the interests of animals and the environment.
A bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya said this while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), drawing attention to the plight of animals which swallowed plastic with their food.
Issuing notice to the central and state governments and plastic makers, the court suggested that either the use of plastic be banned or the manufacturers should pick up used plastic for recycling.
The PIL, by the Karuna Society for Animal and Nature, sought direction to the government to ban the use, sale and disposal of plastic bags in all municipalities and municipal corporations and phase out, in a time-bound manner, the "open garbage disposal system".
Seeking the removal of open garbage receptacles, the NGO also sought directions requiring municipal corporations and municipalities to implement door to door garbage collection.
It further wanted that municipal bodies should ensure that waste storage facilities were built and managed in such a way that animals were not allowed to move around their vicinity.
The NGO said it runs a hospital and shelter for small animals that are injured ill or have been abandoned. The animals rescued and treated at the shelter include dogs, cats, monkeys and a variety of birds.
It said it also had a hospital for large animals such as cattle, buffaloes, donkeys, horses and camels as well as a wild life rescue centre which is home to sloth bears, black buck, sambar and spotted deer.
The NGO said animals should not be exposed to situations where they suffer pain and die due to the neglect or apathy of humans.
It said the improper collection and disposal of plastic had a direct impact on the health and well-being of cows and other animals.
The indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste in India and their consumption by cattle was impacting humans.
"There is a clear and present danger of an adverse health impact on humans arising from animals, particularly cows, (consuming) plastic waste," the petition said.
It said that the inaction and neglect on the part of the central and state governments and municipal bodies breaching the fundamental right to healthy living.