The state-wide plastic ban was more a ruckus than a welcome change, it is surely another poor implementation saga!!!
Small roadside businesses and market vendors rely on plastic bags to package items in markets. Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, told the Mumbai Mirror that 300,000 small businesses in the city have seen their sales drop by about 50 percent since the ban. And there is confusion about which plastics are allowed and which are not, the federation said. Shah said about 2,000 small shops were forced to close during the weekend, and huge quantities of perishables, such as milk, yogurt and juice, were wasted as retailers feared being slapped with penalties.
Small business owners are tallying up their losses and may go on strike Wednesday until the government heeds their concerns, Shah said. “We had written letters to the government stating all grocery stores would buy back the recyclable plastic from the customers at Rs 2 [about 3 cents] but these suggestions were not taken,” he said, according to the Hindustan Times.
As per reports in TOI, India actually has low per capita plastic consumption, just 11 kilograms (24 pounds), compared with Western countries, where up to 10 times that is consumed each year. But India’s cities and water sources are visibly affected by plastic pollution. In Mumbai especially, the long coastline is plagued by floating plastic litter. During monsoons, when the seas rise and splash onto roads, piles of plastic trash litter the city’s sidewalks and streets.
Here is a little insight on what’s banned-
1. All kinds of plastic bags, irrespective of their thickness,
2. Plastic tea cups, glasses
3. Thermocol glasses
3. Thermocol used for decoration
4. Plastic items used in hotels to parcel food like boxes, spoons
What’s not banned?-
The exemptions have been made to minimise discomfort to businesses till the time alternatives have a strong presence in the market.
1. Plastic and thermocol used by manufacturing companies
2. Plastic and thermocol used to package appliances
3. Plastic raincoats
4. Plastic bags for storing food grains
5. Plastic bags used for packaged food items like chips, biscuits, etc.
6. Plastic items used in hospitals like saline bottles
7. Thermocol boxes used to store medicines
8. Plastic pens
9. Milk pouches that are above 50 microns in thickness
10. Plastic pouches used in plant nurseries
What’s the penalty?
The first time offenders will have to pay a fine of Rs 5,000. Violating the ban for a second time will incur a penalty to the tune of Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000 along with a jail term of three months for third time offence. Bring plastic items from other states to Maharashtra will result in three months imprisonment.
On the third day of the plastic ban in the city, 250 inspectors (divided into 24 teams) of the plastic-ban squad, collected fines amounting to ₹2.95 lakh after visiting 8,061 shops across the city. Fifty-nine shops were found with banned items and nine offenders who refused to pay fine were issued challans.
In the face of the criticism and following incessant rains in the city, officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said individuals will be not be targeted initially and will be warned against the use of plastic.
The ban including carry-bags and thermocol is estimated to result in loss of up to Rs 15,000 crore and nearly 3 lakh jobs, says the plastic manufacturing industry. “The ban imposed by Maharashtra from Saturday has hit the industry very hard and the plastic industry is staring at a loss of Rs 15,000 crore, leaving nearly 3 lakh people jobless overnight,” Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India general secretary Neemit Punamiya told PTI.
Nearly 2,500 members of the association have left with the no option but to shut shop following the ban, he added and termed the ban as “discriminatory”. Industry insiders have said the job losses from the ban will impact the state’s GDP, and also increase banks’ bad loans from the plastic sector.Critics, however, say the ban will hit small retailers and businesses the hardest.
While Reliance Industries, the country’s largest polymer producer, is creating a platform for recycling, the Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India, said the job loss due to the ban runs into nearly 3,00,000.The Central Pollution Control Board said that the estimated plastic waste in Maharashtra is nearly 469,098 tonnes per annum, with the number of registered plastic units (in the state) being only 71. It also added that the number of firms into manufacturing and recycling of plastic is just 46 units, implying that there is much work to be done in this space.
This article has been contributed by SUBAH, an enabler of CSR in India.
SUBAH is an enabler of CSR rendering advisory and consultative services on CSR in India to industry, businesses and non-profit organizations. They enable alliances between organizations with corresponding social purposes. With a mission to build enduring and sustainable communities for a better tomorrow, Subah is continually assembling an ever-growing diverse community of conscious stakeholders, groups, & citizens. Connect with them at SubahTeam@gmail.com.