Mumbai: The Nationalist Congress Party has accused the Maharashtra government of banning those items that have long term usage while allowing non-recyclable materials to be used. “The plastic ban imposed by the government seems more like plans to fill the party coffers or for settling scores, instead of protecting the environment,” accused Nawab Malik, national spokesperson for Nationalist Congress Party.
Malik addressed the media on Thursday, a day after the environment minister relaxed the ban for retail and kirana shopkeepers. He attacked the government for not doing its homework before the ban. “This decision is for their political gains and only to trouble the public. The government has come under pressure from multinationals and they have not imposed a ban on recyclable items. This proves the government’s intention and aim is not transparent,” Malik. To corroborate his claims, Malik had brought to the conference packets of candy, mouth freshener, chips, biscuit packets and toothpaste, items which he said have been excluded from the ban. Plastic carry bags and cutlery have been banned, which the public reuses, he said.
NCP officials demanded the government should appoint an expert committee, which can decide what packaging is environment-friendly and whether to allow or exempt items from this plastic ban. “The ban has rendered 4.5 lakh people unemployed. This expert committee can give suggestions to help them get back their productivity,” said Malik.
Postpone plastic ban to Dec 2019, demands BJP MLA
Alleging the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) inspectors were treating traders like criminals and slapping fines for possessing banned plastic, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Raj K Purohit demanded the government postpone the enforcement of the plastic ban till December 31, 2019.
Speaking to newspersons, Purohit also demanded suspension of the fine. He called upon the government to set up a ‘Maharashtra Plastic Damage Control Authority’ (MPDCA) to work out plans to recycle plastic waste, alternatives, create public awareness and only after that, enforce the plastic ban. Purohit demanded the government set up a committee comprising of experts, and legislators to come up with people-friendly alternatives, set up a mechanism for collecting plastic waste, recycling of plastic waste and come up with compensation plans for plastic manufacturers. He argued that the manufacturers could be charged Re1 or Rs 2 as surcharge, whereby a corpus of about Rs 108 crore could be raised to fund the recycling industry. He added that the authority could earmark plots in the city, where all plastic waste could be collected and processed for further recycling.
Referring to the relaxation announced by the government on retail traders using plastic bags above 50 microns, he demanded that the government issue a notification about the same at the earliest.