Mangaluru: Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim held a meeting with municipality officials, plastic manufacturing officials and environmental officials, regarding the ban on plastic at his office here, on March 18.
Ibrahim said, “When there is a issue of ban on plastic, we usually start to complain of inconvenience. But we must know that plastics pollute the environment. Rain water cannot be absorbed by the soil due to the presence of plastic; plants can’t grow if a layer of plastic covers the surface, many animals have died due to the consumption of plastic, plastic also clogs the drains leading to unnatural floods.”
According to a notification by the Department of Environment, Ecology and Forests, use of, banners, carry bags, buntings, flex, flags, plates, cups, spoons, cling films and sheets made of plastic or thermocol is banned. However the plastic carry bags meant for exports by Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Export Oriented Units (EOU), packaging plastic meant for sealed plastic goods, plastic bags and sheets used in Forestry and Horticulture nurseries and plastic used for packing milk and milk products is exempted. Any person violating the norms is liable for legal action being initiated against him under the section 19 of the Environment (Protection) Act.
Some traders questioned the feasibility of the decision and said that it is difficult to ban plastic carry bags as fish and meat products could not be packed in paper or cloth bags. Ibrahim said, “Fish and meat products can be sealed in grocery plastic bags and then placed in a paper or cloth bag.” He said that though carry bags are banned, the 20-micron thick, plastic grocery bags are not banned and could be used without violation of the notification if properly sealed.
“All plastic manufacturers have to stop the production of plastic items mentioned in the notification by March 31. The wholesale traders will have a week’s time to exhaust their stock and by April 15 the retailers and other vendors have to stop the use of these plastic items,” said Ibrahim.
Plastic manufactures aired their concerns over the inventory they had of the banned plastic items and one of the manufacturer said, “We have taken loan and brought machinery to manufacture plastic items, now we will not be able to do anything with it.” Ibrahim said that there was no need to panic as the machinery could be used for producing plastic items that are not banned.
“This is not a draconian law, but a well made law to preserve nature. We may be worried what other alternatives we have, but we have to look at what people were using before plastics came to the market. It is not easy, but when we use paper bags and cloth bags, it will provide employment to many and will also be good for the nature,” said Ibrahim.
ZP CEO Sreevidya, ADC Kumar, Joint Director of DIC, Gokuldas Nayak, Environment Officer, Rajashekar Puranik and others were also present.