Maharashtra government lifts ban on plastic bottles
In a relief to people, the government has decided to lift the plastic ban on small PET and PETE bottles with capacity of less than half litre.
However, it has made installation of vending and crushing machines necessary at starred hotels, malls, tourist places and public places across the state.
This means that all starred hotels will have to install crushing machines for using PET and PETE bottles in bulk. Similarly, it will be mandatory for big malls to have vending machines for collecting used plastic bottles under the depository buyback scheme.
The manufacturers of PET bottles will also have to install vending and crushing machines at tourist and public places, senior officials from the state environment department said. However, people will have to pay Rs2 extra for using each small PET and PETE bottles having capacity of less than half litre under the depository buyback scheme.
The money would be refunded to the consumer in case he or she returns the plastic bottle to the shopkeeper or to the vending machine.
Furthermore, the state has also decided to give extension of another two months to people for disposing of the banned plastic items. Thus, implementing authorities cannot start any punitive action against the offenders till June 23. The notification to this effect is likely to be issued by Thursday, officials said.
According to the Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) Notification, 2018 on March 23, the government had banned manufacture, usage, storage, distribution, wholesale or 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, containers, non-woven polypropylene bags, pouches to store liquid, plastic to wrap or store products and packaging of food items and small PET and PETE bottles having capacity of less than half litre, across the state.
The state government also declared a fine of Rs5,000 and Rs10,000 respectively for first and second time offence. A third-time offender will be fined Rs25,000 and three months imprisonment. “The manufacturers, distributors, hotels and malls owners have to set up complete system of recollection and recycling of bottles in the next three months failing which the government may reconsider its decision,” said a senior official. They will have to ensure that the buyback scheme is working effectively through shopkeepers and vending machine across the state, he added.