The Maharashtra, today, became the 18th state in India to bring a complete ban on plastics. In its Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products notification dated March 23, 2018, it banned the manufacture, usage, sale, transport, handling and storage of the products made from plastics and Thermocol etc. which generates non – biodegradable waste.
The penalty for any violation can result in a fine of Rs 5,000 for the first time, Rs 10,000 for the second time & Rs 25,000 or three months of imprisonment or both for the third time, while manufacturers tend to lose their license for production of any plastic materials listed under the ban.
The state government is bracing to find alternative ways to implement the ban announced by them, effectively.
The ban materials include plastic bags with and without a handle and the disposable products manufactured from plastic & Thermocol (polystyrene) such as a single-use disposable dish, cups, plates, glasses, fork, bowl, container and plastic items used in storage and packaging of food materials etc.,
However materials like plastic bags used for packaging of medicines, compostable plastic bags or material used for plant nurseries, horticulture, agriculture, handling of solid waste, plastics manufactured for export-oriented purpose in special economic zones (SEZ), plastics used for wrapping the material at the manufacturing stage, plastics less than 50 microns used for packaging of milk, PET / PETE bottles having liquid holding capacity 1 liter or more and of 0.5 liter with a buyback price printed on the bottle etc. are exempted from this ban.
The ban on the usage, manufacturing and sale of the items above commenced from the date of notification. The time frame for the implementation of the ban for industries and processing units were initially given one month from the date of notification which was later extended to three months, that is June 23.
Extension of Ban:
The move followed severe resistance from various parties including few government departments. The government then issued a notification on April 11, 2018, relaxing certain standards.
The government later decided to lift the ban on PET/PETE bottles of less than half a litre capacity and made mandatory installation of crushing and vending machines at hotels, malls and public places across the state, reports Hindustan Times.
The Bombay High Court refused to stay the government’s decision on a petition filed before them considering valid grounds for the ban on plastic. Instead, the Court directed the manufacturers to approach the state government for any modification in the norms of the plastic ban.
Consequences of plastic ban
The ban on plastics in the state has forced the e-commerce industries to use corrugated box particles and paper softeners to package products shipped inside and outside Maharashtra. It has increased packaging costs, so the e-commerce companies may plan to pass on the extra cost to buyers,” reports Economic Times.
Industries and business that were heavily depending on plastics are yet to find a feasible alternative to replace with existing practices. There are still concerns for the successful implementation of the plan. According to the report published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in the year 2015, almost all the Indian states are still struggling to implement the complete or partial plastic ban effectively.