Ban on PET bottles to adversely affect fruit industry’s future

ST Correspondent
Sunday, 27 May 2018

Maharashtra accounts for 14.5 per cent share in the country’s fruit production

Pune: After the three-month period to get rid of plastic is over, the State’s fruit industry manufacturers are petrified about the looming ban on PET bottles.

Maharashtra accounts for 14.5 per cent share in the country’s fruit production with some leading producer of oranges, grapes, mangoes, strawberries and guavas. The industry has expressed its effects and challenges if the ban is posed on PET bottles.

“The plastic ban has put the grapes industry in complete distress. We are facing challenges even at the nurseries, where plastic is used to securely keep the saplings. Now, suddenly, we have been forced to seek alternatives that too without any support. The implementation of the ban should have had a longer deadline, for us to prepare in advance. Further, if PET bottles are also banned, the end-product will be affected - grape juice and wines are all mostly sold in PET bottles. What we need is to invest in research to seek viable recycling mechanisms, instead of a blanket ban on plastic,” said Sopan Kanchan, President, Grape Grower Association of India, Pune.

“In the middle of summer, if PET bottles are banned, it will affect a major segment of fruit-based consumer goods i.e specially cold beverages like juices, squash, pulps and purees. The ban will not only have an adverse impact on fruit farmers but also on several FMCG companies, leading to a huge downfall in the economy especially in the fruit belts of Maharashtra like Ratnagiri, Nagpur, Nashik, Solapur, Pune, Amravati, Sangli, Satara, Jalna, Latur, Sindhudurg and Raigad,”  he said.

“Citrus including the Nagpur mandarin and sweet lime accounts for more than 60 per cent of the fruit-based beverages market in India. Most of the popular citrus-beverage FMCG brands use PET bottles for packaging. In case, the authorities decide to enforce a ban on PET bottles, it will have a significant business impact on the entire industry. The approach should be to involve all stakeholders, growers or farmers, the scientific community and the industry to deliberate upon a possible implementation strategy,” said Amol Totey, President, Orange Growers Association of India, Amravati.

According to Dr RN Jagtap, Head of Department, Surface Engineering and Polymer Science, Institute of Chemical Technology, glass bottles as a substitute for PET bottles will be more harmful to serve the purpose of conserving the environment. Glass bottles can’t be considered as a viable substitute for PET bottles since it can never be a healthy. Glass is overtly expensive, inflated and difficult to transport because of its heavy weight. 

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