Tamil Nadu Plastic Manufacturersâ€™ Association (TAPMA) has planned to hold a demonstration on Thursday, asking Tamil Nadu government to withdraw its plastic ban that would take effect from January 1, 2019. TAPMA members allege that the government order is discriminatory in nature, which allows the use of plastics in many government sectors and large-scale private sectors, while the same is banned for the public and small-scale private sectors.
A press release from TAPMA reads, â€śThe government order bans all forms of plastics packaging including by small retail outlets, grocery shops, whereas the same is permitted for MNCs and FMCG companies. This will hit the businesses of over 200,000 small vendors, hawkers, shops, hotels, restaurants, sweet shops, etc.â€ť
In June this year, to coincide with the World Environment Day, the Tamil Nadu government had announced that single-use plastic will be banned in the state from January 1, 2019.
Single-use plastics are commonly used for plastic packaging and include items like grocery bags, food containers, bottles, straws, containers, cups and cutlery.
Speaking at a press event, B Swaminathan, Chairman, Environment Committee, TAPMA had remarked, â€śIt is unfortunate that instead of taking a considered decision based on scientific facts, the state government has chosen to announce the ban under Rule 110 in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, as a pet project, and the same is reluctantly being implemented by the officials of various departments.â€ť
Speaking to TNM, Swaminathan says that consumers should be responsible for using plastic and disposing of it properly. â€śDoes plastic litter by itself? People who use plastic are the ones who litter,â€ť he says.
Swaminathan also draws attention to the governmentâ€™s lack of a better strategy for dealing with plastic waste. â€śThey should have better protocols in place to make sure plastics do not end up in dump yards. Instead, they have called for a ban. Why are you chocking the industries?â€ť he asks.
The Association further points out that more than 5,000 plastics industries will be forced to close down and equipment and machines worth Rs 3,000 crores will remain idle. They also say that 200,000 direct workers will become unemployed. The press release also states that the government will lose GST revenue of Rs 1,800 crores annually as a result of this ban.
According to a Times of India report, the Tamil Nadu government is exploring possibilities to provide incentives for single-use plastic manufacturers to shift to alternate products. Industries Minister MC Sampath was quoted as saying, â€śIncentives could be offered for the affected plastic manufacturers for shifting to making plastic bags, cups and folders using papers instead of plastics. They may also manufacture areca leaf plates.â€ť