Maharashtra's plastic ban: Items banned, penalty and other information
Starting Saturday, Mumbai joined cities like Seattle (US), Montreal (Canada), and Hamburg (Germany), which have banned the sale, distribution and storage of single-use plastic. The state-wide ban imposed by Maharashtra government is an attempt to curb environmental damage caused by plastic. Mumbai alone contributes to 30% plastic waste in India. Not towing the line will result in a fine and even imprisonment. Here's more.
Maharashtra government gave citizens three months to switch to alternatives
On March 23, the Maharashtra cabinet banned the manufacture, usage, sale, transport, distribution, wholesale and retail sale and storage, import of plastic bags with or without handle, and disposable products made out of plastic and thermocol. The government gave three months to citizens to switch to alternatives, and now those found using plastic will have to pay heavily. The environmentalists welcomed the decision.
Understanding what is banned and what is excluded
The items included in the ban are high-quality carry bags, plastic, thermocol decorative items, disposable cutlery and non-woven polypropylene bags. Pet bottles (used by beverage companies), plastic used to package medicines, compostable packaging bags used for horticulture and agriculture purposes and raincoats, pens, plastic wrappers have been excluded from the ban. Plastic used for handling solid waste has also been excluded.
Not only fine, repeat offenders can be sent to jail
First-time offenders will be fined Rs. 5,000 and those found breaking the ban for the second time will have to pay Rs. 10,000. A third-time offender may have to shell Rs. 25,000 and may also face imprisonment for up to three months. Officials of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and local authorities have been tasked with overseeing the ban's implementation on the ground.
Amid ban, minister assures small traders won't be harassed
While there is a lot of confusion around the ban, Maharashtra's environment minister Ramdas Kadam has assured precautions will be taken to ensure small traders will not be harassed. "But strict action would be taken against manufacturers with an aim to stop circulation of plastic in market. Then there will be no need for us to impose fines on people or traders," he said.