According to industry officials, the ban may cause a loss of Rs 15000 crore.
Maharasthra Government’s enforcement of the ban on a variety of plastic items— to cut down on pollution— could lead to a loss of nearly three lakh jobs, and also result in a loss of up to Rs 15,000 crore.
The estimate was made by General Secretary Neemit Punamiya of Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India. Punamiya said, “The ban imposed by Maharashtra from Saturday has hit the industry very hard and the plastic industry is staring at a loss of Rs 15,000 crore, leaving nearly 3 lakh people jobless overnight.”
Terming the move as ‘discriminatory’, Punamiya said that nearly 2,500 members of the Association have been left with no option but to shut shop following the ban.
In March the State had gone ahead and announced a ban on the manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials. The State Government had allotted three months to dispose of the existing stocks, which ended on June 23. Industry experts have also emphasised that the job losses from the ban will impact the state economy, and also increase banks’ bad loans from the plastic sector.
The prohibition extends to a wide variety of plastic items, including plastic carry bags and thermocol. The state capital, Mumbai, faces a flood-like situation every monsoon due to drainage lines getting clogged with plastic and thermocol.
State Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam said that 1,200 tonnes of plastic waste is generated in Maharashtra every day. “Fish and other marine life are threatened by plastic. The city was flooded in the past due to plastic, which chokes its nullahs. Plastic is also responsible for emission of sulphur gas, which is carcinogenic. If the next generation is to be saved, plastic has to be completely banned. 17 states have already banned it and we are the 18th,” the Minister said.
On the first day of the ban, 72 people were fined and a sum of Rs 3.6 lakh was collected in Nashik. Infact, an official release from the Nashik Municipal Corporation stated that various civic teams fanned out across the six municipal divisions of the city and fined violators as per the provisions of the plastic ban notification.
The State has seized over 350 kilograms of plastic items. As per the Government’s notification, the fine for first-time and second-time offenders will be Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 respectively. A third violation will attract a fine of Rs 25,000 and a three-month jail term.