The National Green Tribunal on Friday banned the sale, usage and storage of plastic bags and items made of plastic in Haridwar’s Har Ki Pauri ghat (pictured above) and the town of Rishikesh.

The panel passed the order on a plea filed by environmentalist MC Mehta, who wanted the green court to issue directives that would help stop the pollution of the Ganga.

The ban extends till the “upper areas in Uttarkashi”, a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said. The tribunal noted that plastic items were being used in these areas despite its earlier order, PTI reported. Those who violate the order would be fined Rs 5,000.

The green court has passed a couple of judgments this year on the pollution of the Ganga. In July, the tribunal ordered that until the government completes floodplain zoning for the Haridwar-Unnao stretch – the first stretch of the river flowing out of the Himalayas – 100 metres from the edge of the river on either side would be designated as a no-development zone.

A decision passed in January 2017 dealt with mountainous stretches of the river basin and the tribunal had put restrictions on development in those areas.