It seems that slowly our state authorities are becoming environmentally conscious and taking strict steps in order to keep their surroundings clean.
Recently the Haryana government did away with plastic bottles in government offices and not Maharashtra government from 23rd of June has started a state-wide ban on any and all things plastic that includes single-use items like spoons, bags, plates, thermocol products, PET and PETE bottles etc.
The Maharashtra government had actually come out with this ban on March 23rd, 2018 and given a time period of 3 months for the disposal of their, at the time, in stock plastic items and figure out substitutes to plastic usage.
The government led by Devendra Fadnavis, issued the Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (manufacture, sale, distribution, storage, transport, handling) notice because of plastic being an environmental risk and endangering stray and wild animals of entanglement or accidentally consuming plastic thus harming them.
But many people are still confused as to what exactly the ban is all about, what plastic items come under it, if there are any exceptions and most of all, what will the punishment be if anyone is found using plastic products.
Here, let us take a look at some of those questions:
Which Plastic Products Are Banned?
As per the notice, plastic and thermocol items will mostly be the ones that are banned, this includes:
1. Plastic bags with or without a handle, garbage bags
2. Disposable containers, spoons, cups, plates, forks, glasses
3. PET bottles with a capacity of less than 500 ml
4. Plastic packaging like sheets and wraps to store products
5. Non-woven polyethene bags, plastic straws, pouches that hold liquid and any other plastic item that can be used to package, store or transfer any kind of food item are now banned
6. Using plastic or thermocol for decoration
What Are The Exceptions?
Understanding that finding replacements or alternatives to something as widely used and cheaply available like plastic might be difficult, the authorities have listed out some exceptions to the ban.
1. Plastic raincoats
2. Plastic cover/material used by companies at the manufacturing stage and to package appliances
3. Plastic items that are used to package solid waste
4. Medical field will be able to use thermocol boxes to store medicines and plastic items for saline bottles, medicines, and drugs
5. Plastic pens
6. Plastic bags used to store food grains and as packaging for food items like biscuits, chips and more
7. Plastic bottles and milk bags that are food grade virgin in quality. They also must be collected back from the buyer to recycle or the customer has to pay a small recycling fee to the shopkeeper when buying the product
What Is The Punishment?
According to sources, there are 3 levels to the fine that will be levied and the severity of the punishment increased after each offence.
The BMC or the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will be making the Mumbai residents aware of the ban and what all it includes over the weekend.
They will start imposing the fines on any person not adhering to the ban from Monday onward.
For a first time offender, the fine amount will be Rs. 5,000 and its double that is Rs. 10,000 will be applied on a second-time violation.
While for a 3rd time offence, you will be charged with a fine of Rs. 25,000 and can also face prison time for about 3 months.
The ban is not only for the residents of Mumbai though, even tourists and people travelling through the city are expected to follow the rules of the ban.
For this, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and tourism police are expected to regulate tourist locations and make sure that no violations occur.
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