Months after issuing a notification on March 23, the Maharashtra government's state-wide ban on a wide range of plastic items came into effect on Saturday.
The ban is basically on manufacturing, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as one-time-use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items.
"All kinds of plastic bags, irrespective of their thickness, tea cups, glasses, thermocol glasses, thermocol used for decoration, plastic used in hotels to parcel food like boxes, spoons have been banned from today," state Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam told PTI.
A fine of Rs 5,000 will be imposed on the first-time offenders while the second time offenders will have to pay an amount of Rs 10,000. For third time offenders, the fine will be Rs 25,000, along with an imprisonment of three months.
Though residents are facing difficulties while carrying out their daily essentials, they are happy with the decision and termed the move beneficial in the long run.
After Maharashtra govt enforced a ban on a wide range of single-use plastic items & thermocol in the state, residents of Mumbai say, "it's not that we aren't facing any difficulties, but it will be beneficial for us in the long run. We are happy with the decision" pic.twitter.com/v2lNUsGsaj— ANI (@ANI) June 23, 2018
Shopkeepers, on the other hand, are a bit afraid as such a strict ban on plastic items, including thermocol, will be a threat to their business.
"Plastic ban is a great initiative but we thought only carry bags will be banned. Later came to know that plastics used for packaging/displays will be banned too. We aren't selling spoons and plates of plastics but such strict ban will be a threat to business," a shopkeeper in Maharashtra told ANI.
However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured that some exceptions will be made so that businesses are not hampered till alternatives have a strong presence in the market. Fadnavis sought help and support from all the stakeholders to make the initiative successful.
"We want to promote responsible use of plastic. Therefore, we have banned the kind of plastic that cannot be collected, regulated and recycled," the chief minister said.
"The ban will succeed only with the participation of all the stakeholders 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 added.
However, the Maharashtra government had given three months time for the disposal of the existing stocks in the state.