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No notification means plastic ban may not be imposed from Sunday

The state government plans to ban all kinds of plastic bags, irrespective of its thickness (with or without handle), one-time disposable cutlery items made of plastic and thermocol — plates, cups, glass, bowls, forks, spoons, straw, non-woven polypropylene bags, plastic sheets, plastic pouches and all kinds of plastic films across the state.

mumbai Updated: Mar 18, 2018 01:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,plastic ban
According to a senior official, the notification is likely to be issued on Monday or early next week.(FILE)

Even though the Maharashtra government declared that certain items made of plastic and thermocol would be banned from Sunday, the state environment department did not issue a notification on its implementation on Saturday. A ban can’t be implemented in the absence of a notification.

According to a senior official, the notification is likely to be issued on Monday or early next week.

While announcing the ban on Friday, environment minister Ramdas Kadam had said it would be imposed on the auspicious occasion of Gudi Padwa (March 18). “We are still working on certain modalities owing to which the notification for the ban could not be finalised. We hope to issue the notification on Monday,” said a senior official from the environment department.

The state government plans to ban all kinds of plastic bags, irrespective of its thickness (with or without handle), one-time disposable cutlery items made of plastic and thermocol — plates, cups, glass, bowls, forks, spoons, straw, non-woven polypropylene bags, plastic sheets, plastic pouches and all kinds of plastic films.

In its enthusiasm to implement the ban immediately on the beginning of Maharashtrian new year, the government has overlooked several problems that may arise out of the ban, said a senior minister, strictly on condition of anonymity. “We have to carefully consider what would be the consequences of banning certain items with immediate effect. As such, we are working out the details of which items should be banned now and which ones later,” said the official.

Kadam was not available for his comment on Saturday, despite repeated attempts.

Not all ministers are happy with the move. At least two ministers Hindustan Times spoke to said the government should impose the ban, but the details should be worked out carefully to avoid a fiasco or consequences, if any section gets affected badly.

“There are hundreds of plastic material manufacturing units. Further, lakhs of workers are dependent on this industry. We can’t just give them a three-month deadline to shut or modify the units,” said another senior minister.

Another minister from Mumbai pointed out imposing a ban without giving proper alternative will lead to trouble. “There is no problem in banning plastic bags, but we need to go slow while banning several other items,” he said. “In a city like Mumbai, where thousands of people order food from outside, if plastic containers used to pack food are banned, how will it be sent to customers? Various types of plastic packaging are used in retail industry, including the online retail. We need to give them sufficient time to figure out alternatives,” he said.

The state’s notification will be issued under the under section 4 of the Maharashtra Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 2006. The notification will empower municipal corporations, councils in urban areas and district administration headed by the district collector to start its implementation.

First Published: Mar 18, 2018 01:48 IST