Ban starts today, dispose of plastic items in a month
The Maharashtra government on Friday issued a notification on implementation of ban on plastic with immediate effect. This means, from now on, manufacture, use, storage, distribution, wholesale and retail sale import and transportation of all kinds of plastic bags (with or without handle), single use disposable items made of plastic and thermocol — dish, cups, plates, glasses, fork, bowls, forks, spoons, straw, non-woven polypropylene bags, pouches to store liquid and plastic to wrap or store products and packaging of food items and food grain material will be banned across the state.
The state has added disposable plastic containers being used by restaurants for parcel and home delivery in the purview of the ban. The government has also incorporated small PET and PETE bottles having carrying capacity of less than half litre in the ban. The notification has also banned plastic and thermocol for decoration. The government has one month time to consumers, shopkeepers, traders and manufacturers to dispose of the banned plastic items, which means punitive action will start after one month.
The notification has been called as the Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) Notification, 2018.
HT was first to report about such a ban in a series of stories from January 12.
The final draft of the notification was approved on Thursday by the empowered committee formed by the state government to monitor, review and take decisions on the ban. “Concerns about usage and disposal of plastic are diverse and include accumulation of waste in landfills, water bodies and in natural habitats, the leaching of chemicals from plastic products and potential for plastics to transfer chemical to wildlife and humans are increasing,” the notification said.
The government has decided to exempt plastic being used as integral part for packaging of a product or being used at the manufacturing stage. However, it has directed the manufacturers to prominently print the guidelines to recycle and reuse of such plastic on the cover and material, the notification said. It has also exempted milk pouches made up of food grade virgin plastic bags not less than 50 microns for the ban.
State environment minister Ramdas Kadam said offenders will be fined Rs5,000 and Rs10,000 respectively for first and second offence, respectively. A third-time offender will be fined Rs25,000 and get three months in jail. But the notification has no mention about the penalty. Kadam said the notification has been issued by exercising the powers of Maharashtra Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 2006.
The government has authorized everyone who is interested in strict implementation of the ban -- group of people, welfare organizations, industrial association and all the elected representatives -- to register any offence with the authorized officer notified by the government, the notification states.
Environmentalist Afroz Shah, who is known for his cleanliness drive at Versova Beach, said it is a very good decision to test the ban. “The government has put limited items in the ban and has regulated milk pouches and PET bottles having capacity of half litre and above. Now it is up to the people to come in support and help in enforcing the ban strictly,” Shah said. The best of the move is the empowered committee which will monitor the implementation of the ban and review if on regular basis, he added.