Pune: With the plastic ban in place, without a convenient substitute available to the widely used plastic bags and containers, there is a possibility that soon you may have to carry your own containers to buy your favourite sweets like basundi and gulab jamun from the sweet marts.
Considering the inconvenience this might cause to the customers and the adverse effect it might have on the business, members of Pune Mithai Association and Mumbai Mishtanna Association met the Chief Minister on Tuesday and requested him to provide an extension to the use and disposal of plastic bags.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Sanjay Chitale of Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale, who is also part of Pune Mithai Association, said, “We are not against the plastic ban and we understand how harmful it is for the environment. We have requested for extension to the use of plastic bags until we get a biodegradable solution to plastic. Right now, with a total ban on plastic, we are facing a great deal of inconvenience to sell liquid and semi-liquid products like basundi. We want to keep using plastic at least until we have a replacement to sell these products, otherwise, the whole food industry will suffer adversely.”
Arvind Budhani of Budhani Wafers and Secretary of Pune Mithai Association pointed out that plastic packaging is necessary for hygiene and quality control.
“With fluctuations in weather conditions, food products stored otherwise can get stale or spoiled. Also, packaging improves the presentation and demand for the food products. Even exporting food items requires quality packaging in plastic. If plastic is banned totally, the food industry is bound to lose a great deal of business in India as well as abroad,” Budhani said.
He added, “Instead of totally banning plastic in all the areas, the government should explore the ways to get the plastic used recycled in a better way. The developed countries use five to six times more plastic than India, but they have an efficient system to recycle it. Also, it's alright to ban plastic bags, cups, spoons, straws, etc., but plastic should at least be used in packaging, as it's required for safety and hygiene.”
He said that while serving or packing food items in sweet shops, the salespersons use plastic gloves and caps to ensure hygiene. What are they going to use now that plastic in all forms is to be banned, he asked.
'Extend repository scheme to foodgrains, food items'
The Mithai Association as well as Plastic Bag Manufacturers’ Association of India (PBMAI) met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday, who assured that he will speak with the concerned ministers, before taking any steps on the issue.
The PBMAI has urged the Maharashtra government to treat foodgrains and all food items including fruits and vegetables at par with milk and extend the repository (50 paise per bag) scheme on them.
“On an average, each Maharashtrian uses more than 650 plastic bags annually of which over 350 plastic bags are used for packaging edibles including sugar, atta, dal, vegetables and fruits, which equally deserve to be exempted as they are as essential as milk. Failure to act immediately will cause untold misery to each and every resident of Maharashtra, especially women,” Neemit Punamiya, General Secretary, PBMAI said.