Plastic ban in Maharashtra starts today

ST Correspondent
Saturday, 23 June 2018

Maharashtra govt enforces complete plastic ban; defaulters will be fined

Mumbai: The State government is all set to implement plastic ban from June 23. Those caught using plastic and errant manufacturers will face huge penalty, said  Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam. 

He said efforts will be taken to ensure that common people and small traders won’t be harassed but strict action will be taken against the plastic bag manufacturers. 

The demand to give three months relaxation to retail packaging will be considered, but they have to submit a disposal plan to the government in next three months. 

Kadam was speaking to reporters after a review meeting with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board officials. Meanwhile, the thermocol manufactures demanded relaxation to use thermocol for decoration till the Ganesh Festival ends.

“We have heard their grievances and it will be put forth before the Empowered Committee, that will take a final call on it,” said Kadam. “We will ask them to collect the thermocol used in the decoration of Ganesh festival and deposit with the respected municipal corporation, which will dispose of it,” said the minister.  

On March 23, the Maharashtra government had issued a notification, imposing a ban on the manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of all plastic materials like one-time use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and also thermocol items. 

The fine for the first-time and second-time offenders will be Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000. A third violation will attract a fine of Rs 25,000 and a jail term for three months.

On Wednesday’s meeting of an expert committee set up to advise the department on the challenges in implementing the plastic ban, various issues raised by manufacturers of plastic bags and thermocol decorative items were discussed.

“The main aim is to stop the circulation of the plastic from other states. Our department recently seized 80 trucks of the banned plastic coming in the state from Gujarat,” he said. 

Kadam reiterated that 80 per cent of banned plastic items are manufactured in Gujarat and smuggled to Maharashtra.

“Anybody caught bringing in banned plastic goods will be imprisoned for three months,” he said.

The ban will mostly hit jobs in the plastic sector in Gujarat, he said, adding, “We will find alternative jobs for those who are affected in Maharashtra.”

He said extensive awareness campaigns will be carried out to make people aware of the banned plastic items in next eight days. “There is no relaxation in the fine amounts,” added Kadam. He said 1,200 tonnes of plastic waste is generated in Maharashtra every day.

“Fish and other marine life are threatened by plastic. Plastic is found in nalas. The city was flooded in the past due to plastic (which chokes nalas). Plastic is also responsible for the emission of sulphur gas, which is carcinogenic.”

“If the next generation is to be saved, plastic has to be banned. Seventeen states have already banned it and we are the 18th,” the minister said. 

Rlys to act against passengers violating Maha plastic ban
Mumbai, Jun 22 (PTI) The Railways today said that it would initiate action against those violating the Maharashtra government’s plastic ban which comes into effect from Saturday.

“We are in touch with state government agencies to enforce the ban. After getting the nod of state authorities, we will start penalising passengers who are in possession of banned plastic items,” Central Railway Chief Commercial Manager Shailendra Kumar told PTI.

Western Railway chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar said that its had formed teams to implement the ban and fines would be levied on violators.

He added that WR, under the Swachh Bharat Mission, had installed plastic bottle crusher machines at several stations to dispose of plastic waste in an environment-friendly manner.

Both WR and CR, along with IRCTC, plan to install such crushing machines at more stations and inside coaches as well, officials said.
Shriprakash Kedia, a member of the Divisional Railway Users Consultative committee (DRUCC) at Central Railway, however, said that the Railways should make adequate announcements before beginning to levy fines on those violating the plastic ban.

The Maharashtra government, on March 23, had issued a notification imposing a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of all plastic materials, including one-time use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, as part of the ban, will levy a fine of Rs 5,000 for the first offence, Rs 1,000 fine for the second one and Rs 25,000 fine for every subsequent violation.

Court to hear petitions on July 20
- The State government told the Bombay High Court that it has asked all local authorities to set up a mechanism to arrange for collection, transportation and disposal of banned plastic items and plastic waste. 
- The State government’s notification dated March 23 was challenged in HC by plastic, PET bottle and thermocol manufacturers and retail associations on the grounds that the ban was arbitrary, bad in law and violated their fundamental right to livelihood.
- In April, the HC refused to stay the notification. The court had protected citizens from prosecution for possession of the same for a period of three months, which ends on June 23. The court today posted the petitions for further hearing on July 20.

(With Agency Inputs)

Related News