Non-biodegradable plastic items continue to be openly sold and used in restaurants in Kupwara despite a ban as the municipal body of the border town looks the other way.
The government ordered a ban on sale and use ofnon-biodegradable plastic items for daily use in March.
There has been no market checking since to stop wholesalersand most shops selling polythene and foam items, residents and shopkeepers say.
The situation is the same in Handwara town of the district.
"I believe that the authorities are not aware aboutgovernment ban on selling of any these items which is harmful to the nature andis non-degradable," said Abid Ahmad, a teacher from Kupwara town.
"Authorities hardly bother for these things which degradethe environment. These shopkeepers know that the authorities are not going totake any action against them that is why they are selling them openly."
Fastfood restaurants in Kupwara and Handwara towns also usethe same banned items.
"The restaurants use the non-biodegradable plastic itemslike spoons, plates and tumblers, cups and charge the customers for thesesdisposable things," said Atif Ahmad, a resident of Handwara town.
A stockist at Jamia Road, Kupwara, said he regularlysupplies the non-biodegradable items to clients, which include restaurants,hotels, and food outlets across the town.
"The ban was imposed just in papers by the authorities. Wehaven't faced any action from the concerned officials since the ban, they don'tdo inspections and it goes well with us," said Afaq Ahmad, a wholesaler of thebanned items.
"I bought the plates made of foam from Delhi and sell themhere. I sell almost fifty thousand pieces in one season as hundreds ofshopkeepers from dozens of villages came here to buy these products."
More than a dozen traders openly sell the banned products towhoever comes looking for them in both Kupwara and Handwara towns.
They even claim that the demand has actually increasedduring the ongoing marriage season.
The ban on the non-biodegradable items came into force inJammu and Kashmir in March when the department of forest, environment andecology issued a notification stopping sale of disposable articles made ofnon-biodegradable material.
"Government imposed complete ban on (the) articles made ofnon-biodegradable material listed in the schedule of the said Act, within theterritorial jurisdiction of the state," the notification reads.
The banned articles include disposable plastic plates, cups,bowls, tumblers, spoons, forks and knives.
Executive Officer of the Municipal Committee of Kupwara,Farooq Ahmad, said the civic body would launch a drive against violators.
"Those who violate the government orders should face strictaction," Ahmad said.