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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

'Cloth bags' made of Polypropylene? GSPCB doesn't have facility to test

Story: The | Goan | 11th October 2018, 02:49 Hrs

NO TEST CENTRES IN GOA
>> No where in Goa the bags distributed to vendors in Panaji market can be tested and certified as safe for the environment, officials at the GSPCB said
>> The laboratories of the GSPCB are equipped to test the quality of only water, air, and sediments, confirmed an official from the pollution board
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As this is a new matter that has come to light, we have to get approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) to test bags
- GSPCB official
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PANAJI: On Gandhi Jayanti last week, the Corporation of the City of Panaji announced its grandiose plans to declare the capital plastic-free and simultaneously launched a campaign to distribute 'cloth bags' to citizens and vendors in the market.
It turned out, as The Goan reported, that these cloth bags weren't cloth but of poly-propylene, a non-biodegradable material as toxic, if not worse, than plastic.
CCP Commissioner, Ajit Roy, then cautioned that vendors would have to get the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) to certify the bags they're using are environment-friendly. It now turns out that the GSPCB does not have the equipment to test the material and ascertain that the 'cloth bags' are indeed cloth and safe for the environment.
In fact, no where in Goa these bags can be tested and certified as safe for the environment, officials at the GSPCB, told the Goan.
"The laboratories of the GSPCB are equipped to test the quality of only water, air, and sediments," confirmed an official from the GSPCB.
When presented with one of the polypropylene bags picked up from the lot supplied to one vendor inPanaji market by the CCP. the official from the GSPCB said that there was no facility in their labs of to test the material and confirm its environment friendliness.
"As this is a new matter that has come to light, we have to get approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) to test bags, and we have to develop a standard procedure for it," informed an official at the GSPCB, speaking to 'The Goan.'
However, officials in the GSPCB have already discussed the matter of procuring new equipment to test bags, as it is now of the essence. The Board would also need to put forth a proposal to get funding to buy the required equipment. As of now, the Board does not know by when they can get the equipment required to test bags, as the procedure to get the equipment is a long one.
A ban on plastic bags came into force at the Panjim Market on October 2, after which CCP officials had distributed token polypropylene bags, which are said to be just as harmful to the environment as plastic bags, as they are non-biodegradable. Manufacturers of polypropylene bags have also started taking advantage of the 'plastic ban' to sell polypropylene bags, passing them off as 'cotton.'
Polypropylene bags look like cotton at first glance, and the difference can only be felt upon touch.