"The latest effort by Delhi would mark the first time a city in India is enforcing a blanket ban on plastic bags within its territory," writes Kumar. In 2009, the government tried to ban stores from giving out plastic bags to customers, but the effort "proved woefully ineffective and was roundly criticized by the industry." The old ban also exempted heavy-duty plastic bags under the assumption that they would be reused, but the new ban includes all varieties of plastic bags and will apply to manufacturers in Delhi as well. Under the Environment Protection Act of 1986, those who hand out plastic bags wil face a maximum penalty of 100,000 rupees and five years of imprisonment.
The enforcement of the ban will be a government-wide effort including the police department, food and sales division and labor inspectors, said Sandeep Mishra, additional secretary of the Delhi Department of Environment. The city government is also "planning to start an awareness campaign about the separation and recycling of waste, using social networking sites, and wil hand out a limited number of jute and cloth shopping bags to select Resident Welfare Assocations." However, sellers have expressed concern over losing customers, and plastic bag manufacturers have petitioned the High Court to block the ban. "Plastic bags are very convenient, " said Prashant Rajenkar, senior program coordinator at the nonprofit Toxics Link, "and unless there is an equally attractive alternative, people might not give it up completely."