Manufacturers, traders up in arms over ban

ST Correspondent
Thursday, 29 March 2018

Plea filed in HC against notification

Pune: Voices against plastic ban have started growing louder each passing day, following the State government’s decision to put a blanket ban on the use and manufacture of plastic.

“We are ready to help in bringing a stricter implementation of the earlier rule of prohibiting the use of thin plastic bags below 50 microns, but we strongly oppose this blanket ban on plastic,” said Ravi Jashnani of the Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers’ Association (MPMA). The Association has also filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court against the notification.

The Association has demanded that the ban be withdrawn. Instead, the stakeholders are ready to provide full support to the government to help recycle plastic waste. Representatives of Pune District Retail Association, Mithai and Farsaan Association of India, All India Bread Association and Grahak Peth were present during an interaction with the media, along with the MPMA.

Following the plastic ban implemented in the State from Gudi Padwa (March 18), there is a blanket ban on plastic items, including plastic bags, non-woven polypropylene bags, plastic disposable plates, spoons, cups, containers, packaging plastic used by small scale producers, plastic decorative items, etc.

“With the sudden March 23 notification, the whole plastic packaging industry has been rendered defunct. Thousands of workers are rendered jobless. We are facing huge losses, leading to financial crisis,” Jashnani said.

He pointed out that the notification allows large industries of food products like chips, chocolates, biscuits, etc, to use plastic for packaging, while small scale local producers are prohibited from using it.

He added, “If the rule of prohibiting the use of plastic bags of less than 50 microns was implemented, plastic waste would have been easier to control. Also, the Central government had issued guidelines not to give plastic carry bags free of cost in 2011. Every establishment should use the amount collected by the same for plastic waste management. But this was never implemented.”

Sachin Navangune of Pune District Retail Association said, “Whenever we are inspected for safety and hygiene, food inspectors themselves recommend the use of plastic. Only plastic keeps the food clean, free from contamination and fresh. Now, the government expects us to go back to practice of wrapping groceries and other produce in waste newspaper, which is not very hygienic.”

Bhushan Giramkar of the All India Bread Association said, “We use plastic packaging to protect food products from changing weather conditions, stop it from getting stale. We at least need a substitute that will truly replace plastic in all aspects. Once our present stock of plastic is over, and if the manufacture of plastic doesn’t begin by then, it will be difficult for us to sell our products.”

“We are ready to work with the government and set up more plastic recycling plants to help dispose of the increasing plastic waste. All plastic manufacturers will agree to this as this is a profitable business. Plastic can be recycled indefinite times, as opposed to paper,” Jashnani said.

He said while it is possible to recycle all types of plastic, they still support the use of plastic bags with thickness only above 50 microns as these bags are easy to be segregated and picked, instead of the thinner ones.

Experts speak
Instead of solving the issue of solid waste management, the government is taking the easy way out by banning plastic. Instead of banning plastic, the government can take example from Sikkim, where they have a much better plastic disposal system in place, instead of a blanket ban.”
- Suryakant Pathak, Grahak Peth

While we are still using plastic bags and containers for delivery of food, we will soon need to stop if the ban persists. This will cause us huge losses. For maximum restaurants, home delivery of food makes the maximum business.”
- Kishor Sarpotdar, Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA)    

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