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Maharashtra's plastic ban will make 400,000 people jobless

By Dilip Kumar Jha
March 29, 2018 14:19 IST
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The notification bans carry bags, one-time use of polyethylene, straws and thermocol

Fearing closure of 4,000-odd units, plastic manufacturers have urged the government of Maharashtra to review its blanket ban on multiple plastic products.


The government issued a notification ordering a ban on several types of plastic products effective March 24. It has given 30 days for manufacturers, distributors and even consumers to dispose of all plastic items in storage and use.

The notification also bans use of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of less than 500 ml storage.

The notification bans carry bags, one-time use of polyethylene, straws and thermocol.

“This decision will devour the plastic industry and affect the state’s economy as well. Suppliers to user industries such as beverages, medical, fast food, retail chains, garment, packaging, dairy industry, etc, will shut down as no alternatives are viable vis-a-vis plastic packaging,” said Hiten Bheda, president, All India Plastics Manufacturers’ Association (AIPMA).

AIPMA, with its allied industries, is seeking legal opinion on how to challenge the decision in a court of law, for not creating an alternative means of livelihood for around 400,000 people who are reportedly set to become jobless.

“The notification is impractical, unrealistic and not the solution for the underlying issue of pollution,” said Bheda.

According to a study released in February 2017 by business chamber Ficci, the plastics processing industry grew at a compounded annual rate of 10 per cent in volume terms from 8.3 million tonnes in FY10 to 13.4 mt in FY15. And, to 22 mt by 2020.

In value terms, from Rs 35,000 crore (Rs 350 billion) in FY05 to Rs 1 trillion in FY15.

“We are ready to support the government in scrap collection and recycling thereafter.

"Hence, the 50 microns thickness rule should be strictly implemented,” said Khilesh Bhargava, chairman of AIPMA’s environment and recycling committee.

The government has proposed a fine of Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000 and a jail term for up to three months on those using banned plastic items.

Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters

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Dilip Kumar Jha in Mumbai
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