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State boosts plastic ban enforcement

The State government on Friday told the Bombay High Court it has authorised the Railways, Metro and airport authorities to initiate action, within their jurisdiction, against those violating the State’s plastic ban.

On March 23, the State issued a notification imposing a ban on the manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as one-time use bags, spoons and PET bottles.

The notification was challenged in the HC by plastic, PET bottle and thermocol manufacturers and retailers’ associations on the ground that the ban was arbitrary, bad in law and violated their fundamental right to livelihood. On April 13, a Division Bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla refused to stay the ban and said, “We are aware that the petitioners and all those persons involved in the business of plastic materials may suffer loss due to the ban. However, we have to consider the impact of plastic waste on the environment and the ecosystem in general and the effect thereof on citizens.”

Additional affidavit

On Friday, the government filed an additional affidavit in the petitions. The affidavit, filed by the Under Secretary of the State Environment Department, Sanjay Sandhanshiv, said, as per the Maharashtra Non-biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 2006, an empowered committee is constituted under the chairmanship of the Environment minister to monitor the implementation of these regulations and to review the incorporation of additional items like which generates non-biodegradable garbage, including PET/PETE bottles and to resolve any difficulties for implementation and carry out amendments in regulations.

It said the committee had heard the representations made by the petitioners and submitted its recommendations to the government. On the basis of these, the government had, on June 30, issued an amended notification, which states that the use, sale, storage and manufacture of PET/PETE bottles having liquid holding capacity of less than 200 ml has been banned. “It shall be the sole responsibility of the manufacturer of PET bottles to ensure that these bottles are collected from retailers and recycled. The manufacturers shall diligently implement their extended producer’s responsibility plan,” the affidavit said.

The plan shall also include coordination and collaboration with scrap traders and retailers for collection of plastic waste, its recycling and the final disposal, it said. The amended notification also permitted wholesalers and retailers of groceries and grain products to sell these items in sealed plastic packaging material, but they shall print a buy-back price on it.

(With PTI inputs)

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