The Maharashtra government has enforced a ban on a variety of plastic items starting today as the Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam on Saturday told media that errant manufacturers will face a strong action, but common people and small traders will not be harassed. The ban on plastic products was imposed by the Maharashtra government on March 23 who gave a three-month window to dispose of the existing stock. The Minister added that an extensive awareness campaign will be carried out in the next eight days to inform about banned items.
“We will ensure that common people and small traders are not harassed. But strict action will be taken again plastic manufacturers (if they break the law),” the senior Shiv Sena minister said. However, there is still some confusion among people as to what all products are banned and allowed under this ban.
What will plastic products not be allowed?
As per the notification, all the products manufactured from plastic and thermocol fall under the ban which means that the usage of plastic bags with a handle and without handle, disposable cups, and plates, spoons, forks, glasses, and containers is prohibited in the state. Plastic packaging used to wrap and store products is also banned. The ban also covers plastic straw non-woven polypropene bags, pouches and any other plastic used to store, package and transfer food items.
The state has also banned the use of non-woven polypropene bags, pouches and any other plastic used to store, package and transfer food items. On the demand to exempt thermocol used for decorations during Ganesh Festival, Kadam said, “Some Maharashtrian youths met me and requested that they be allowed to use thermocol items in the festival this year as they had already purchased these items.”
List of items excluded from the ban:
1. Plastic used for packaging medicines and drugs
2. Food grade virgin plastic used for packaging milk
3. Compostable packaging bags used for horticulture and agriculture purposes
4. Plastic bags used for exporting goods
5. Plastic used at the manufacturing stage
6. Plastic used for handling of solid waste
Fine for violating:
The Minister said that there will be no relaxation in fine. He said that the first-time and second-time offenders will be fined Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000, respectively. A third violation will attract a fine of Rs 25,000 and a jail term for three months.
Kadam added that 80 per cent of banned plastic items are manufactured in Gujarat and smuggled to Maharashtra. “Anybody caught bringing in banned plastic goods will be imprisoned for three months,” he said.
Aaditya Thackeray’s response:
The Yuva Sena (Shiv Sena youth wing) chief Aaditya Thackeray, took a jibe at the ruling alliance partner BJP. He said that the ban was not announced overnight, unlike demonetisation. The decision was in discussion for nine months, Thackeray said.
“There has been a lot of awareness about the ban. Only willful offenders would be worried about fines,” he added.