Mumbai, (The Hindu): Seeking a status quo on the use of plastic in the State, the Plastic Bag Manufacturers Association of India on Tuesday demanded a stay on the ban of plastic bags till alternatives are identified and made available.
Representatives of the Bombay Grain Dealers Association, Indian Bakers Association and Clothing Manufacturers Association of India on Tuesday came together to discuss problems they have been facing in terms of production, packaging and supply. Lalit Gandhi, vice president, Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, met State Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam on April 2 over the status of packaging material till alternatives are available.
The Bombay High Court has given the State government till April 9 to file a reply, after which it shall rule on the petition. The State has 2,500 units manufacturing plastic bags, employing around 56,000 people. Plastic manufacturers in the State owe banks nearly 11,000 crore, as of March 31.
Neemit Puniya, general secretary, Plastic Bag Manufacturers Association of India, demanded the industry be given seven years to recover losses incurred and repay bank loans. “At least give us some time or decrease the use gradually, rather than all of a sudden. We’ve been using plastic bags since 1950; you cannot ban them overnight. Each person in the State uses 650 plastic bags in a year, mostly as packaging for biscuits and grains and carry bags.”
Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retailer Welfare Association (FRWA) said the government failed to implement an earlier ban on plastic bags of thickness less than 50 microns. “During the rains, we saw pictures of plastic bags clogging gutters, and most of them were less than 50 microns in thickness. In Maharashtra, 99% shopkeepers use plastic bags of above 50 microns.” He said transparent bags are used to protect expensive clothing like bridal outfits and saris from dust and changes in the weather. “There has to be clarity on the type of plastic being banned.”
Rajesh Masand, chairman, Clothing Manufacturers Association of India, said, “Apparel trade is the second biggest employer in India, after agriculture. It employs 30 lakh people, and depends on polypropylene for packaging. We need packing material for garments that is transparent and weather-resistant. The PP bags used are safe and recyclable, and are accepted the world over.”
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