Plastic ban: Big retailers in Pune switch to alternatives, but manufacturers struggle to keep up
While major retailers like Big Bazaar and D-Mart have come up with 100 per cent compostable bags along with the bags made of cloths and papers as a solution to the ban, smaller retailers are finding it difficult to cope with the added expenses.pune Updated: Apr 23, 2018 15:11 IST
While civic authorities are uncompromising in their efforts to enforce the state-wide plastic ban, retailers are finding it difficult to switch to alternate mediums. While major retailers like Big Bazaar and D-Mart have come up with 100 per cent compostable bags along with the bags made of cloths and papers as a solution to the ban, smaller retailers are finding it difficult to cope with the added expenses.
HARPAL SINGH, of All India Plastics Manufacturers’ AssociationBAGFUL OF OPTIONS (Cost per unit)
Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000
For first and second offences (designated officers in municipal corporations, police force and environment department can issue such fines)Rs 25,000 and three-month jail:
For the third offence (the right rests with judicial magistrates)WHO CAN PENALISE VIOLATORS?IN URBAN AREAS
◼ Municipal commissioners
◼ Deputy municipal commissioners
◼ Shops and establishment officers and inspectors
◼ Sanitary inspector
◼ Health inspector
◼ Ward officer
◼ Officers nominated by municipal commissioner and chief executive officer of municipal councils
◼ District collector
◼ Deputy collector
◼ Sub-divisional officer
◼ Talathi or officer nominated by district collector
◼ CEO of zilla parishad
◼ Block divisional officer
◼ Health officer
◼ Development officer
◼ District education officerOTHER OFFICIALS
Member secretary, regional officer, sub-regional officer and field officer of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB)Director and deputy director of health services, health officers and director of the primary and secondary education boardAll tourism police, police inspector, sub-inspector, motor vehicles inspector, traffic police and range forest officer
However, in a blow to retailers such as Big Bazaar and D-Mart, authorities have termed the compostable bags to be equally hazardous in nature.
Monica Walujkar, an official from the solid waste management department, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), said, “There were various places in the city where 100 per cent compostable bags were being used as an alternative to plastic bags. However, we have seized these bags from various places because they are equally hazardous to the environment.”
“According to the plastic ban guidelines, compostable bags can only be used in nursery gardens,” she added
Responding to the issue, an official from Big Bazaar, on the condition of anonymity, said, “We have not received any notification from any governing authority asking us to stop using compostable bags. We have been openly using them for many days and no action has been taken against us.”
“We get all our bags from our main godownin Gujarat. We have not received any orders from our senior management to stop using compostable bags,” he added.
Accusing the civic authorities of targeting small retailers while giving a pass to the major ones, Ravi Jashnani, president of the Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturing Association (MPMA), said, “The civic authorities have trivialised the illegal usage of these compostable bags by Big Bazar and D-Mart. These bags clearly violate the norms fixed by the state government and action should be taken against them.”
Walujkar, responding to the allegation, said that PMC officials would be sent to both D-Mart and Big Bazaar and immediate action would be taken against the retailers if they are found breaking the law.
According to the All India Plastics Manufacturers’ Association (AIPMA), more than four lakh workers were employed by around 2,150 manufacturing units in the state.A month after the Maharashtra government issued a notification to ban plastic items, a thousand plastic manufacturing units across the state shut down, according to manufacturers.The fallout also abruptly rendered lakhs of industry workers without a source of livelihood.
Nilesh Lunkad, senior member of the MPMA, said, “Almost 50 per cent of the plastic manufacturing units in Pune have closed down as a result of the plastic ban. This has left thousands of people jobless overnight.”
He added, “While the government is strict in the implementation of the ban, they are doing nothing to suggest alternatives to plastic. They are doing nothing to save small scale plastic manufacturing units which have all become bankrupt or are facing major financial difficulties.”
The MPMA has already filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court, seeking a repeal of the ban.
“In one stroke, the state’s plastic industry has been rendered defunct. All units have running loans amounting to crores of rupees. They will all have to shut down if the ban is not lifted,” said Jashnani.
Chakan, Kondhwa, Shindewadi, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Rajgurunaga are the major plastic manufacturing zones in the city.
First Published: Apr 23, 2018 14:33 IST