Bombay High Court adjourns petitions challenging plastic ban till July 20

Mumbai: Clearing the decks for the ‘smooth’ enforcement of plastic ban, the Bombay High Court on Friday adjourned the petitions challenging the new law till July 20. This comes as a setback for the manufacturers and producers of plastic products, as they were nursing hopes of a stay on the enforcement of the blanket ban.

A bunch of petitions challenging the blanket ban on use of one-time-use plastic and thermocol products were listed before a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Riyaz Chagla for hearing. The bench said it would hear the final arguments in the matter from all the concerned parties and adjourned the petitions till July 20. Meanwhile, the government through an affidavit dated June 7, apprised the bench of the letter issued by the environment department to all municipal corporations and councils, divisional commissioners, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, all chief executive officers and Zilla Parishads informing them of the April 13, 2018, order of the high Court directing them to implement the ban.

The same bench had in April refused to stay the implementation of the ban imposed by the government on the use, sale, distribution and import of plastic products. The bench then, had directed the government to enforce the ban from June 23, thereby enabling citizens to dispose of their plastic items and switch over to alternatives. The government had by a notification dated March 23 prohibited the use of plastic bags (with and without handle), single-use disposable plastic or thermocol dishes, plates, cups, bowls, containers used for packaging foods, glasses, straw, forks, spoons, plastic used for packaging food grains or food materials, PET bottles below 500 ml etc.

However, by another notification dated April 11 the rules were modified wherein the use of PET bottles of all capacity “made of high-quality food grade virgin Bisphenol-A free material” with a pre-defined buyback policy printed on it was allowed. The notification also cast a duty on the manufacturers to set up collection centres, reverse vending machines and crushing machines at different places.

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