Vox Pop: Is a ban on plastics justified?

From 23 June Maharashtra enforced ban on plastic in a bid to fight pollution. While eco-activists welcomed the move, the plastic industry calls it “retrograde step”

10 Aug 2018 | By Abhishek Muralidharan

P B Raman,Jayesh Rambhia,Ginu Joseph,Sameer Joshi (Clockwise)

P B Raman, Steer Engineering

"An indiscriminate ban will result in a massive disruption in the current use of plastics resulting in supply chain breakage. It will also raise the demand for paper and cartons leading to rapid deforestation. Many items of mass consumption will become expensive with alternate materials, affecting the common man. India is already recycling plastics in a big way thanks to the rag pickers. But some plastic items are not picked up where there is no reward. These are the HM-HDPE films in the form of grocery bags. The others are disposable cups. A selective ban on these will solve 90% of the problem."

Jayesh Rambhia, All India plastics manufacturers association (AIPMA)

"We are part of the solution and not the problem. India is the second largest producer of food. Also, a majority of the world's hungry people live in India. Every year, five lakh children die of malnutrition, five crore children have faced stunted growth due to malnutrition. It is plastic packaging that enables the food product to be delivered to the hungry. The problem here is not with plastics but it is the management of solid waste that is flawed. This is BMC's responsibility. Do you know what is the Brihanmumbai municipal corporation’s (BMCs) budget for solid waste management? It is less than Rs 4.75 per head per day."

Ginu Joseph, Modern Plastics India

"The plastic ban in Maharashtra is expected to lead to a ‎goods and services tax (GST) loss of Rs 800-crore, as Maharashtra produces plastic products worth Rs 50,000-crore. About 60% of the plastic that is manufactured can be recycled, out of which 95% comprises Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. The imposed ban has hit the plastic industry very hard and it is staring at a loss of Rs 15,000 crores, leaving nearly three lakh people jobless overnight. Most of the plastic industries are in the MSME sector, the ban will mostly affect these players as they have taken loans and have families to support."

Sameer Joshi, Indian plastic institute (IPI) and PlastIndia Foundation

"I don't think this decision has a grounding in any specific scientific research. It seems targeted only against littering and the fact that plastic is non-biodegradable. I think a ban on plastics is a good start, however, imparting knowledge on the use of plastics and its disposal needs to be spread. The repercussions of the ban are far-reaching. According to an industry official, three lakh people are set to become jobless. In Mumbai, 6.8 lakh readymade garment pieces set for exports, are stuck due to the non-availability of transparent plastic bags for packaging. More than three lakh kirana stores have faced a business drop of 50%."