Ban on plastic use in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra government’s state-wide ban on the use of plastic items, including carry-bags and thermocol, came into effect.

What are the penalties on plastic use?

For the first time offenders, the fine will be Rs5,000. For second time offenders, the fine will be Rs10,000. Those who violate it for the third time will face a fine of Rs25,000, along with imprisonment of three months.

Claiming that 80% of the plastic is manufactured in Gujarat, the minister said the government has made strict provision of three-month jail if plastic is found being brought into Maharashtra from any other state.

Is the ban complete?

The chief minister said that the ban puts the onus on the polluters, but at the same time some exceptions have been made so that businesses are not hampered till alternatives have a strong presence in the market.

What all have been banned?

On 23 March, the state government had imposed a ban on manufacturing, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as one-time-use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items. The government had given three months time for the disposal of the existing stocks.

All kinds of plastic bags, irrespective of their thickness, tea cups, glasses, thermocol glasses, thermocol used for decoration, plastic used in hotels to parcel food like boxes, spoons have been banned.

What has been exempted?

Plastic and thermocol used by manufacturing companies, materials used in hospitals like saline bottles, and boxes used to store medicines, plastic pens, milk pouches that are above 50 microns in thickness have been exempted from the ban.

Plastic and thermocol used for packaging television sets, fridges, computers as well as raincoats, plastic used for storing food grains and that used in nurseries for plants and also plastic in which biscuits, chips, are packaged, etc has also been exempted from the ban.

Plastics leading to floods

It was found that plastic had led to major water-logging in Mumbai following continuous downpour. A lot of plastic and thermocol was found stuck in gutters which caused flooding in the city.

(Adapted from Livemint)