The Maharashtra government in its ambitious ban on plastic bags, water bottles and other disposable plastic items in the state has sent many Mumbaikars in a tizzy as they face hardships will buying daily needy things and even while shopping for grocery.
The Maharashtra government laid down this strict plastic ban after the state civic bodied started facing serious problems on garbage disposing and its management.
When was the ban implemented?
The ban was implemented on the day of Gudi Padwa, that is March 23, 2018. The plastic ban was issued under the name of Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) Notification, 2018, under which the notification it cited the rising concerns of ‘usage and disposal of plastic are diverse and include accumulation of waste in landfills, water bodies and in natural habitats, physical problems for wild animals resulting from ingestion or entanglement in plastic, the leaching of chemicals from plastic products and the potential for plastics to transfer chemicals to wildlife and humans.’
Which plastic products are banned?
The ban covers plastic bags, disposable cups and plates, plastic cutlery, non-woven polypropylene bags, plastic pouches and packaging, and thermacol.
The ban notification also have defined “Plastic” means material; which contains as an essential ingredient a high polymer such as polyethylene terephthalate, high-density polyethylene, vinyl, low density polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene resins, poly styrene (thermacol), non-oven polypropylene, multi layered co extruder, poly propylene, poly terephthalate, poly amides, poly methyl methacrylate, plastic micro beads, etc.
The ban covers the whole State of Maharashtra for manufacture, usage, transport, distribution, wholesale and retail sale and storage and import of the following products:
- Plastic bags
- Disposable plastic items like spoons, forks, cups, glasses, containers
- Disposable thermacol items like plates, glasses, bowls, containers
- Non-woven polypropylene bags
- Plastic pouches for storing liquid
- Plastic wrap used for packaging or storing products
- Plastic packaging for food items
- Plastic and thermacol decorations
This ban is applicable to every person, body of person, government and non-government organization, educational institution, sport complex, clubs, cinema halls and theaters, marriage/celebration halls, industrial units, commercial institutions, offices, pilgrimage organisers, pilgrimages and religious places, hotels, dhabas, shopkeepers, malls, vendors or sellers, traders, manufacturers, caterer, wholesalers, retailers, stockiest, businessmen, hawkers, salesmen, transporters, market, producers, stalls, tourist places, forest & reserved forest, eco-sensitive areas, all sea beaches, all public places, bus stands, railway stations, says the notification.
Which items are exempted from the ban
The Maharashtra government have exempted the following from the plastic ban:
- Plastic bags or plastic used for packaging of medicines;
- Compostable plastic bags or material used for plant nurseries, horticulture, agriculture, handling of solid waste.
- Plastic and plastic bags for export purpose only, in the Special Economic Zone and export-oriented units.
- The plastic used for handling of solid waste (for example garbage used at homes).
- Plastic cover or plastic to wrap material used at the manufacturing stage or is an integral part of manufacturing.
- Food grade virgin plastic bags not less than 50-micron thickness used for packaging of milk.
Milk bags and water bottles
Plastic milk pouches will have to be more than 50 microns thick and should be recyclable. However, on such plastic bags used for this purpose, should be clearly printed with the price for buyback. it simply means you can take your empty milk bags back to the seller in return for which he will pay you back Rs 0.50.
All PET bottle manufacturers, producers, sellers and traders under the ‘extended producers and sellers/traders responsibility’ will have to develop a ‘buyback depository mechanism’ with a predefined buyback price printed specifically on each bottle.
As a result, consumers will have to pay Rs 1 and Rs 2 extra above the MRP for buying PET bottles of 500 ml and 1 liter respectively. Plastic bottles with a capacity of less than half a liter have been banned completely.
Penalty if violated the ban
Fine for violating the ban will be Rs 5,000 for the first offence, Rs 10,000 for the second and Rs 25,000 for the third offence or a three-month jail term or both. Manufacturers, on the other hand, stand to lose their license.
Who is in charge of the ban
Municipal Commissioners, Deputy Municipal Commissioners, Shops and Establishment Officers and Inspectors, Sanitary Inspector, Health Inspector, Health Officer, Ward Officers. District Collector, Deputy Collector, Sub-Divisional Officer, Tahasildar, Talathi. Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, Health, Education, Police officials, Traffic Police, District Supply Officer, State Tax officials, Range Forest Officers have been authorised to implement the regulations.
Other states in India where plastic is implemented
Apart from Maharashtra, Bengaluru, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan has plastic ban imposed.
Following are the 11 states have partial bans on the use of plastic bags around sites of religious, historical or natural importance, or during the pilgrimage season Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.