Three months after issuing a notification, and protests and court challenges notwithstanding, the Maharashtra government on Saturday enforced its state-wide ban on a wide range of single-use plastic items and thermocol.
Steep fines ranging from 5,000 to 25,000 will be imposed on those found with these items although viable and cheap alternatives are yet to be devised for mass use.
Commenting on the ban, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the state’s decision can succeed only if all the stake-holders support the move.
“We want to promote responsible use of plastic. Therefore, we have banned the kind of plastic that cannot be collected, regulated and recycled,” he said.
The chief minister said that the ban puts the onus on the polluters, but at the same time some exceptions have been made so that businesses are not hampered till alternatives have a strong presence in the market.
“The ban will succeed only with the participation of all the stake-holders and that the government has made a committee to ensure trouble-shooting and smooth adaptation.
“We do not want to promote police raj and we are also trying to address the concerns of traders and small vendors,” Fadnavis said.
Certain plastic items that are not banned will now come with a recycling surcharge to ensure that they are not disposed of recklessly, but sent for recycling.
State environment minister Ramdas Kadam said, “We gave people enough time before we have decided to enforce the ban. This is not like demonetisation that was enforced overnight. The sea is being filled with plastic and this is no longer an issue pertaining just to Maharashtra, but the entire world.” Kadam said .