Maharashtra set to ban use of plastic-coated products

Following the ban on single-use plastic on 1 July, the Maharashtra government has decided to ban plastic-coated laminated goods. But have things changed on the ground? Janhavi Sisodia reports.

29 Jul 2022 | By Janhavi Sisodia

India banned the use of single-use plastic from 1 July to combat plastic pollution

The Maharashtra government has become the first state in the country to ban single-use plastic. Dish, plates, cups, glasses, etc. with plastic coating and lamination are being sold as paper products. The central government has already banned single-use plastic from 1 July.

Keeping in view the problems caused by the use of plastic in the state, the Maharashtra government has directed the officials to improve the plastic ban rules. A committee was formed to implement the plastic ban in the state. This committee had decided to amend the notification 2018 related to Maharashtra Plastics and Thermocol Products on 7 July. Under the same decision, the state government, through a notification dated 15 July, also imposed a ban on products with plastic coating and lamination. These include plastic-coated and laminated disposable dishes, cups, plates, glasses, fork, bowl and container (single-use products) made from paper or aluminium.

As readers of WhatPackaging? will recall, on 23 March 2018, the Maharashtra government imposed a ban on the manufacturing, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic material such as one-time-use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles, and thermocol items. The government had then given three months’ time for disposal of the existing stock.

As per media reports, 650 MSME units in Halol in Gujarat have shut due to the trickle-down effect of the single-use plastic ban. The Halol Small Scale Plastic Welfare Association has reached out to the state administration - and have requested the Gujarat chief minister to allow 75-micron plastic products even after 31 December 2022, instead of changing the mandatory product requirement to 120-microns. As readers of WhatPackaging? are aware that plastic products below 75 microns are prohibited under the SUP policy.

Meanwhile 400 litres of water packets were destroyed during an inspection by the Zonal Commissioner VII and sanitation staff in Visakhapatnam. The team also created awareness about single use plastic ban under the Swachh Survekshan project. Innumerable schools across the state organised drawing competitions for school students on the topic of Swachh Bharat/ Segregation of waste/ ban on single-use plastic.

The government is attempting to inform and encourage plastic processors to switch to sustainable goods. However, the key to implementing the SUP ban successfully is raising consumer and public awareness. The government must educate everyone by introducing new school courses, hosting seminars, inspiring the populace with different initiatives, and obstructing the supply chain for huge SUP product manufacturers and their raw materials, among other things.

In June, the India delegation led by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh attended the plenary session of the five-day UN Ocean Conference. During the session, Dr SIngh addressed the gathering in Lisbon which saw governments of Kenya and Portugal being the co-hosts.

Dr Singh said India is committed to protecting at least 30% of "our" lands, rivers, and seas by 2030 in order to fulfil its 30x30 commitment. This has been conveyed to the ministers, delegates, and representatives from more than 130 nations that we are at the UN summit to share with the world the PM's vision for the preservation and exploitation of the seas and their riches.

Following the UN Ocean Conference, India announced that it will begin a significant push to clean up the nation's 75 beaches. The 75-day awareness campaign "Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar" was launched on 5 July and will culminate on 17 September in honour of International Coastal Cleanup Day. The initiative to clean up the shoreline will be the first of its kind and perhaps the longest in history.

Speaking to the media, Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out that India has undertaken a nationwide awareness campaign to clean plastic and other waste from coastal areas, and this mission will soon become a mass movement.

India has banned the use of single-use plastic from 1 July to combat plastic pollution. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India had issued a gazette notification last year announcing the ban and has now defined a list of items that will be banned further.