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  • A notice is pasted outside a shop stating the unavailability of plastic bags at a market in Mumbai, India, June 27, 2018.

    A notice is pasted outside a shop stating the unavailability of plastic bags at a market in Mumbai, India, June 27, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 July 2018
Opinion

According to the state pollution board, 265 plastic manufacturing units shut operations voluntarily, while 90 others have been issued closure notices. 

In a drive to ensure that the Indian city, Mumbai, in the North Western state of Maharashtra which took a major step to ban the use of single-use plastics earlier this week, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (Mpcb) has reported that at least 355 plastic-making factories have seized to operate. 

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According to the state pollution board, 265 plastic manufacturing units shut operations voluntarily, while 90 others have been issued closure notices. 

The state government enforced the ban on the manufacture, sale, and use of a variety of plastic goods last week. 

“So far, our survey has covered 578 plastic and thermocol manufacturing units in Maharashtra. Units that were served closure notices have been given 15 days, after which, our officers will revisit them for compliance,” said P Anbalagan, member secretary, Mpcb, according to the Hindustan Times. 

The residents using plastic bags, cups or bottles will face penalties of up to US$367 and three months in jail, according to local authorities. 

The densely populated city by the sea, also the main financial district of the country, has placed council inspectors in navy blue jackets across the city who will monitor the businesses or residents still using plastic bags. According to the Guardian, penalties which range from nearly US$73 to US$367, with a threat of three months’ jail for those caught repeatedly using single-use plastics, have already kicked in for businesses with McDonald’s and Starbucks having already been fined. 

The news comes at a time when several multinational corporations, like Amazon Inc (AMZN.O) and H&M (HMb.ST) are lobbying to soften the ban against single-use plastic, Reuters reported. 

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, FICCI, whose members include Amazon India and Flipkart, warned the state government in a letter that the ban, "will not be without its own share of adverse environmental impacts which are largely driven by issues associated with the use of alternatives."   

Earlier in June while hosting the World Environment Day focused on the epidemic of plastic waste, India announced an ambitious pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022. The initiative comes at a time of a global drive focused on tackling the toxic impact of plastic waste. 

India's use of plastic is less than half of the global average: about 11kg a year per capita compared with the U.S.' 109kg. But India has one of the highest rates of mismanaging plastic waste in the world, per a 2015 study. The plastic wrappers, cups, and bags have been a perennial issue in India as mountain-sized landfills line the outskirts of major cities like Delhi.  

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