Mumbai, The Maharashtra government has told the Bombay High Court that it has asked all local authorities to set up a mechanism to arrange the collection, transportation and disposal of banned plastic items and plastic waste. The government had on March 23 issued a notification imposing a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of all plastic materials, including one-time use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items. The notification was, however, challenged in HC by plastic, PET bottle and thermocol manufacturers and retail associations on the ground that the ban was arbitrary, bad in law and violated their fundamental right to livelihood.
In April, a division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla refused to stay the notification after observing that the court could not ignore the adverse effects of plastic waste on the environment. The notification gave a period of three months to the manufacturers, distributors and retailers to dispose of the existing stock of the banned items. Consumers/users were, however, given only a period of one month to dispose the same. The court had, however, protected the citizens from prosecution for possession of the same for a period of three months, which ends tomorrow.
The high court, in its order, gave local civic and council bodies three months time to arrange for collection and transportation of banned plastic items or plastic waste of existing stock for recycling or sending to authorised recyclers or industries or for scientific disposal. The state environment department, in an affidavit, has said it has issued a letter to all divisional commissioners, municipal corporations, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), all chief executive officers, Zilla Parishads and Municipal Councils, bringing the HC order to their notice and directing them to comply with the same. The high court in its April order had also noted that there was no provision made in the March 23 notification to strictly ensure that individual users were able to immediately dispose of the banned items in their possession. The court today posted the petitions for further hearing on July 20.