Industries fear closure as Govt mulls ‘phased ban’ on Single Use Plastic

‘Will increase unemployment, industrial losses’
Sanjeev K Sharma
JAMMU, Sept 24:: As the authorities have hinted at a ‘phased ban’ by the Narendra Modi led Government on single use plastic items, fear of closure is looming large over the industries associated with such products which will further trigger an increase in unemployment.
“The ban on single use plastic will leave hundreds of people in Jammu division unemployed as about 15 manufacturing units associated with such products here will face closure putting the industrial sector to losses running in crores,” sources in the industrial sector informed.
They also said that the units manufacturing poly-bags less than 50 microns have already been closed in Jammu region.
“There are 4-5 factories manufacturing disposable cups, plates etc in Jammu while eight such industrial units make poly-bags,” the sources maintained.
“Among plastic manufacturing units in Jammu province, there are 28 units that manufacture polythene carry bags, 37 units are engaged in recycling polythene and for multilayer packing there are 28 units,” Regional PCB Director, Dr Nadeem Hussain told Excelsior.
He also said that for other plastic products which do not come under the category of single use like plastic buckets etc, there are 138 manufacturing units in Jammu division.
The Director also said that three units were making disposable cups etc used in marriage functions etc have been banned under SRO 231 in Jammu.
“Though it is the commitment of the Prime Minister that by 2020-22 India should become a plastic free nation, yet the legal framework for that is not ready as of now,” Hussain said.
“Of course there will definitely be some decision in this regard by October 2. However, whatever will be announced will be put into some Act or SRO as per which the single use plastic will be banned and there will be a set timeline and deadline for that,” he further said adding that the Regional PCB is fully prepared for any such fresh rulings.
Hussain also said, though officially there is no deadline to stop the use of single use plastic as of now, but indications are that ultimately over a period of time it is to be phased out.
“People are now being mentally prepared to avoid the use of polythene carry bags and prefer cloth bags instead,” he said.
The Director also informed that till date single use plastic has not been banned and poly-carry bags above 50 microns are legal in J&K as well as in rest of India. “Single use plastic also includes plastic water bottles as we use and throw them and they are legal as of now but what the PM will announce on October 2 is still in speculations,” the PCB Regional Director said.
When contacted Bari Brahmana Industrial Association (BBIA) president, Lalit Mahajan said, after the closure of many industrial units associated with single use plastic products, their owners will fail to repay the bank loans that they had secured to establish the business.
He said that the Government should ask these factories to shift to bio-degradable items.
“The Government should also facilitate soft loans to such manufacturers apart from giving at least six month time to them for shifting over to new products as per the fresh recommended PCB guidelines,” he said.
When contacted Subash Chander Dutta-a manufacturer of disposable items which involve single use plastic said: “It was March 26 this year when the Government issued a notification to ban non-biodegradable disposable products like cups, plates etc after which we stopped the production and started the process of switching over to biodegradable products.
“After a trial run we sent our new product to Central Institute of Plastic and Engineering Technology in Chennai-a Government of India’s testing lab-which takes six months to give its report as after the lab tests they put the product to field tests to check how much time it takes to get decomposed,” he said.
“If that lab issues an ok report it is then submitted to the Central PCB, Delhi which in turn issues a consent letter to be submitted to J&K PCB to start the manufacture,” Dutta maintained.
He also informed that Thermo Farmers and Allied Industries Association, which is a pan-India organisation of which he is also a member, is already fighting to safeguard the interests of manufacturers of plastic related products.


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