A ban on plastic bags having a thickness less than 50 microns came into force in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. Those found buying or selling the banned plastic bags will be fined up to Rs 1 lakh and six months in jail, according to a state government order.

The police have also launched a helpline number asking people to inform them about any violation.

“People should come forward and call anti-crime helpline 7839861314 to report the manufacturing or supply of plastic in the city,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani told reporters and added that the identity of informers would not be disclosed.

The initiative came after the state government on August 26 said strict action would be taken against officials if the banned plastic was sold in any part of Lucknow from September.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said that strict action would be taken against any police station in-charge, civic official, commercial tax officer, magistrate and circle officers if the sale of the banned plastic was noticed in their areas.

He said the officials had also been asked to inform traders and the people about the ban.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech this year and then his monthly radio address ‘Mann ki Baat’, appealed to people against using plastic to protect the environment.