Written byGarima Bora
Maharashtra Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam on "International World Environment Day" said the state will be totally free of plastic in the next one year.
On March 23, the BJP-led government imposed a ban on a slew of plastic products in the state. It had issued a notification, banning the manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials as well as thermocol items.
Kadam said that plastic below 50 microns was first banned by the government in 2006 but was not properly implemented.
Speaking at "Bottles for Change", a plastic recycling initiative launched by the leading mineral water brand Bisleri, the Minister said, "Over 1,200 tonnes of plastic waste is created every day, but we don't know how much of it is recycled."
Kadam claimed 80% of banned plastic items are being smuggled into Maharashtra from Gujarat and only 20% of them are manufactured in Maharashtra.
He added that irresponsible use of plastic has led to environmental degradation as when plastic is burnt, it creates sulfur fumes which are carcinogenic.
"It is highly possible that the fish we consume have traces of plastic in them," Kadam said.
Kadam said private companies periodically show him presentations on how they intend to recycle plastic, but he remains unconvinced with their arguments.
"The day they come and tell me this is what they have actually done, then I will be satisfied," he said.
He added that the government has found that about 120 bottled-water selling companies in Vasai-Nallasopara areas that are operating illegally.
"I will not let people die of cancer, animals suffer, nor let the environment to be degraded further," Kadam said.
Industries Minister Subhash Desa said disposal of plastic products should be made the manufacturers' responsibility.
"We all point towards plastic and term it as the culprit. However, we are the real culprits for not disposing (of) plastic... properly. We are the pollutants," Desai said.
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