Saturday, March 24, 2018

State plans campaign before plastic ban move


PUNE: An interactive website, massive awareness programmes and the appointment of brand ambassadors have been lined up by the environment department before implementing the plastic ban across the state.

A week after announcing the ban, the government is expected to issue a notification to enforce the decision. The implementation will not be with immediate effect, environment department officials told “Like the MahaRERA website, ours would be interactive. Every decision and implementation will be put up on the website for clarity once the notification is issued,” a senior environment department official said.

The appointment of brand ambassadors and awareness programmes will be carried out, he added. The state announced the ban on March 18, but the final notification was to be out this week. “We will give time to people and provide enough alternatives like cloth bags before implementing the ban,” the official, who did not want to be named, said.

It would take between one month and three months to dispose of the banned plastic items. Consumers would have a fortnight to one month to follow the notification while manufacturers will take at least three months. The final notification will give the exact time frame, he added.

Environment minister Ramdas Kadam confirmed that the notification for implementing the plastic ban will be issued on Friday, but the notification was not issued till late at night. The empowered committee, headed by Kadam, had cleared the notification with a few changes on Thursday.

Once the notification is out, manufacturing, use, storage, distribution, wholesale and retail sale, import and transportation of all kinds of plastic bags (with or without handle), disposable cutlery items made of plastic and thermocol - plates, cups, glass, bowls, forks, spoons, straw, non-woven polypropylene bags, plastic sheets and plastic pouches - and all kinds of plastic films will be officially banned across the state.

Pune Municipal Corporation’s joint commissioner Suresh Jagtap told that they had initiated a drive against plastic but had to stop till further notification from the government. Grocers who have already put up sign boards that there will be no plastic bags handed out said they were confused as they have been warned of huge fines.

Ram Sethiya, a grocer from Kothrud, said, “ I bought paper bags. The government should have spelled out clearly and given alternatives to plastic,’’ he said.

Civic activist Vivek Velankar said, "there have been several attempts to carry out such drives in the past. There is not enough manpower either from the PMC or from the police department to initiate action. The policy will come out but it will remain only on paper. A participative approach should have been opted by the government which will educate and not compel. Such forceful initiatives are carried out for a few days and finally remain as a source of corruption,” Velankar added.


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