Maharashtra government under pressure to dilute plastic ban
The state government has constituted a five-member committee to study proposals submitted by representatives of plastic traders and manufacturers.mumbai Updated: Apr 17, 2018 16:31 IST
With plastic traders and manufacturers demanding Maharashtra’s ban on the manufacture, use and sale of plastic be diluted, the state government has constituted a five-member committee to study proposals submitted by representatives of plastic traders and manufacturers. On Monday, in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the representatives made four presentations, assuring they’d take responsibility for collecting used plastic items and recycling as per Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) under waste management rules. Also present at the meeting was Aaditya Thackeray, son of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, Sena youth wing head and prime mover behind the plastic ban.
The five-member committee that will study the industry’s suggestions is made up of Satish Gavai, additional chief secretary (environment); Pravin Pardeshi, additional chief secretary to the chief minister; Sunil Porwal, additional chief secretary, industries department; Dr Anbalagan, secretary Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), and Dr BN Patil, director, environment department. Gavai will be the chairman.
Sources confirmed that the chief minister chaired the meeting on Monday because he is under pressure from plastic manufacturers and traders to dilute the ban. Presentations were made by Pet Packaging Association for Clean Environment (PACE), Thermoforming and Allied and Industrial Association (TAIA), Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers Association (MPMA), Plastic Bags Manufacturing Association (PBMA) and Marathwada Plastic Association (MPA). Last week, the same presentations were made before a committee headed by additional chief secretary Pravin Pardeshi. State environment minister Ramdas Kadam, who was also present at the meeting, has opposed dilution of the ban. According to officials, Kadam pointed out that the industry response came after the ban had been imposed said and that they should have come forward when public notice for the ban was issued in January 2018.
“We will set up a mechanism ensuring no littering of used plastic products, provided the government also supports us by bringing policy framework and infrastructure,” said Ravi Jashnani, president, MPMA. “For instance, we have demanded space for waste banks in all the cities where collected plastic items can be stored before sending for recycling. Similarly, we want the government to provide digital platform so that the movement of collection and taking them for recycling can be monitored on real time basis.”
The representatives have demanded the blanket ban be revoked. Submitted proposals include promotion of recycled material to manufacture plastic bags. Making each plastic bag weigh a minimum of 16 grams will eliminate small bags which constitute almost 70% of consumption and are a major cause of littering. A joint working committee consisting of representatives from the government and industry players has also been proposed to carry out tasks like penalizing those who flout the rule of using plastic bags below 50 microns, setting up helpline numbers to register complaints and rewarding complainants.
The committee will now submit its report with certain suggestions pertaining to the ban, to an empowered committee, headed by Kadam. Kadam said, “The empowered committee will take its decision only after receiving a report from the five-member committee.”