Bihar: Traders worried over ban on single-use plastic items, thermocol products
The production, distribution and sale of these products are now a punishable offence even as Bihar enters the peak season of weddings and family functions, when such items are in high demand
A ban on the use of single-use plastic items and thermocol products came into effect in Bihar on Wednesday, leaving traders, especially members of the CAIT (Confederation of All India Traders), worried over its impact on business.
The production, distribution and sale of these products are now a punishable offence even as Bihar enters the peak season of weddings, family functions and large ceremonies, when such items are in high demand.
CAIT members said the ban on single-use plastic items and thermocol products will result in huge losses for traders. They have demanded that the ban should be pushed back.
The ban comes following the Union government’s decision to eliminate single-use plastic items and thermocol products from the country from July next year.
In June 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made the announcement, asking the states to draw up a comprehensive action plan for elimination of single-use plastics and effective implementation of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
In August this year, the ministry of environment, forests and climate change notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, prohibiting the manufacture, import, distribution, sale and use of multiple types single-use plastic items from July 1, 2022.
“In our state, this ban has been made effective before the 2022 deadline. We need time to completely stop this trade and want the ban be implemented here in 2022,” said Kamal Nopani, the CAIT’s Bihar wing chairman.
A memorandum was submitted to the forest department a couple of months ago and Bihar’s traders have made an appeal to the Centre to reconsider their request, he said.
The CAIT’s Bihar chief said that the state forest department had announced its decision about the ban back in June this year. “Traders were asked to clear their stocks before the deadline. But things did not materialise. In fact, December is the season of weddings and celebrations, and so it’s also the time of business and earnings. Traders have for months been waiting for this season, “ Nopani said.
Prem Kumar Gupta, a Patna-based trader who deals with plastic and thermocol items, also said the products are used mainly during weddings and celebrations. “We had to wait for the buyers. After all, wedding planners don’t purchase these materials long before the events,” he said.
Aman Kumar, another trader, said business will now be hit hard due to the implementation of the ban. “After a long gap [due to the pandemic], traders were having a good time. The demand was high and income was good. But then came the ban on the trade [of single-use plastic items and thermocol products],” he said. “We should be allowed to continue business in the peak wedding season. The ban should be implemented in June 2022.”
Forest minister Neeraj Kumar said traders have been requesting a push-back to the implementation of the ban. “But this decision will be taken by the government. For now, the ban should be followed,” he said.
A Bihar State Pollution Control Board employee, who did not wish to be named, said the ban was announced in June, and its violation will be punishable “under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. It can either be fine of ₹1 lakh or five years of imprisonment or both”.