After announcing plastic ban across the state, the Maharashtra government is finally prepared to issue notification on Friday to enforce the decision. However, the government has now decided to give some time to shopkeepers, manufacturers and consumers to dispose of the banned plastic items.
It means that the state, while implementing the ban, will not impose penalties immediately. The state is likely to give 15 days to three months to dispose of the banned plastic items. For the consumer, the breathing period would be between 15 days and one month, while manufacturers would get three months, said officials from the state environment department.
State environment minister Ramdas Kadam confirmed that the notification for implementing the plastic ban will be issued on Friday. The empowered committee headed by Kadam cleared the notification with few changes on Thursday.
With the notification, manufacturing, use, storage, distribution, wholesale and retail sale, import and transportation of all kinds of plastic bags (with or without handle), disposable cutlery items made of plastic and thermocol plates, cups, glass, bowls, forks, spoons, straw, non-woven polypropylene bags, plastic sheets and plastic pouches and all kinds of plastic films will be officially banned across the state from Friday.
The government has decided to exempt plastic being used for packaging of a product, solid waste management and medicines. This means bags used to collect garbage will not be banned. It has also kept milk pouches of more than 50 microns and PET bottles out of the purview. Manufacturers of PET bottles have been asked to set up recycling units in the next three months and start a buy-back scheme.
“The empowered committee has decided to give some time to all affected class to dispose of the banned items. Hence, punitive action against the offenders will not start with immediate effect. Consumer, shopkeepers and manufacturers will be given specific time to dispose of plastic items ranging from 15 days to three months,” said a senior official requesting anonymity.
After that, offenders will be fined Rs5,000 and Rs10,000 respectively for first and second time offence, respectively. A third-time offender will be fined Rs25,000 and three months imprisonment.
Plantation bags made up of compostable plastic are not banned, said officials.
In urban areas, the ban is going to be implemented by the local bodies, while in rural areas, it will be implemented by the district administration.
The recent decision is an extension to the ban on plastic carry-bags of below 50 microns imposed in 2006 after the Mumbai floods in July 2005.
The government has realised that the 2006 ban on bags up to 50 microns was not helping it to prevent clogging of drains and ecological damage.>