Plastic ban: 355 units close down voluntarily in 12 days

Mumbai : Acccording to a survey carried out by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), as many as 355 plastic and thermocol (styrofoam) manufacturing units have closed down voluntarily in the state in merely twelve days of the state government enforcing a ban on manufacturing, selling and use of variety of plastic goods.

Surveys carried out by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) found 265 units that produced plastic sheets, plates, straws, containers and other banned products have voluntarily shut business, said officials, while 90 others have been issued closure notices. These units are in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Nasik, and Kolhapur.

“So far, our survey has covered 578 plastic and thermocol manufacturing units in Maharashtra. Units that were served closure notices have been given 15 days, after which, our officers will revisit them for compliance,” said P Anbalagan, member secretary, MPCB.

Anbalagan said during the survey, recently-opened units were identified and will be registered so that a database of all manufacturing units related to plastic production is developed, reducing scope for violations.

On March 23, the state government issued a notification under the Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) Notification, 2018, banning the manufacture, usage, storage, distribution, wholesale, retail sale, import and transportation of a variety of plastic and thermocol goods.

Early last week, a revised notification was issued by the state environment department asked fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) firms to stop manufacturing non-recyclable multi-layer packaging. However, the details of this order are being worked out.

Meanwhile, as a remedial measure, MPCB has begun sending notices to firms asking them to prove that they use recyclable packaging. Manufacturers have been asked to follow Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) to ensure collection and recycling of used plastic wrappers and packets.

“We are helping both manufacturers and recyclers understand the ban better. We have developed an in-house portal where these bodies can register, and within a week, licences will be issued to them for recycling. Recyclers with any issues can write to the MPCB head office,” said Anbalagan.

Plastic manufacturers said clarification by the state helped them understand the ban. “Pictorial representations of banned items have helped remove all ambiguities. We can now turn around banned inventories such as carry bags into recyclable multi-layer packaging, saving ourselves losses. However, there are many products that are still not allowed. As the industry comes to terms with these changes, we request the state to allow some products,” said a senior chairman of  All India Plastic Manufacturing Association. He also said the current measures will go a long way to protect the environment.

Free Press Journal