Thermocol will not be allowed for Ganpati decorations, says Bombay high court

Hindustan Times | ByYesha Kotak, Mumbai
Jul 14, 2018 11:50 AM IST

Thermocol, or polystyrene foam, can no longer be used for decorations during Ganesh Chaturthi, the court declared on Friday.

Thermocol, or polystyrene foam, can no longer be used for decorations during Ganesh Chaturthi, the Bombay high court (HC) declared on Friday. The court was responding to petition, filed by the Thermocol Fabricator and Decoration Association, which stated that a thermocol ban would hit 40,000 jobs.

(HT File Photo/Used for representational purpose)
(HT File Photo/Used for representational purpose)

Dismissing the plea, the bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice RI Chagla said the arguments made by the government could not be ignored.

Why is thermocol harmful?

The material, if not disposed of correctly, is an environmental hazard, as it ends up as flotsam on water bodies, clogging rivers and lakes, and harming aquatic life. The Institute for European Environment Police (IEEP), and other environment agencies, have said that broken-down pieces are ingested by marine life, also putting humans who consume sea food at possible risk.

The state, during the hearing, pointed out that 1,200 tonnes of plastic waste is generated each day and there is no proper scientific provision for the disposal of plastic and thermocol.

“In our earlier order refusing to stay implementation of manufacture, sale and use of plastic and thermocol, we had observed the court cannot ignore the adverse effects of plastic waste on environment,” said Justice Oka.

Idris Shayer, petitioner, said, “As of now, 60-70% of the work involving thermocol has already been done. Following this order, the unfinished products that will go unsold will result in a loss 25-30 crore.”

Alternatives to thermocol decoration

Recyclable paper products




Naresh Dahibavkar, president, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshostsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), said, “We welcome the high court order and are aware that plastic and thermocol are not good for the environment. The problem is that the government hasn’t come up with any other alternative material that can be used instead of thermocol.”

Suresh Sawant, an artist who makes thermocol models of temples, said, “We start the work six to seven months prior as the work is intricate. By January, I had already received orders from 200 mandals.”

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