Blaming poor implementation of existing rules, the All India Plastic Manufacturers’ Association (AIPMA) has demanded one law, on the lines of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), for plastic waste management across the country. It has also said ban on plastic carry bags and PET-bottled water will lead to mass unemployment and harm the nature because of cutting of more trees for making alternative paper bags.
“It is impractical to ban carry bags and PET-bottled water. We urge the state government to drop the idea of banning plastic products and work jointly with all stakeholders. About 90 per cent of PET bottles are recycled in India. The ban will go against the principle of one nation one market,” said Hiten Bheda, the president of the AIPMA, the largest body of plastics industry in India, while addressing the media on Monday.
Arvind Mehta, former president of the association, said: “Like GST, we want one law for plastics waste management across the country. The industry is worried due to the government’s ban on plastic carry bags and PET-bottled water.”
The association also claimed that it would lead to mass unemployment and cause more harm to nature. “In the plastic industry, there are total 55,000 processing companies and 20,000 recycling units that employ 55 lakh direct employees and over 70 lakh indirect employees, including rag-pickers and waste collectors. Banning plastic will not solve the issues but cause mass unemployment and de-industrialisation,” said Haren Sanghavi, the association’s chairman. “Currently, the only alternative to carry bags is paper bags that require cutting down of trees and causing more harm to the nature.”
He added that plastic waste management rules, 2016, are not implemented in totality. “These rules must be implemented and enforced. Besides, littering has to be stopped,” said Sanghavi adding that the ban on PET-bottled water in star hotels would reduce inflow of international tourists who depend only on PET-bottled water. “The move will detract the government from focusing on more relevant areas to tackle environmental issues such as waste segregation and non-littering for which the municipal corporations are responsible,” he said.
The association admitted that it did not have a proper plastic waste collection mechanism.
An official from the environment department said: “In a meeting last week, we insisted on having a proper waste collection mechanism. They did not have it and relying on rag-pickers will not suffice. We can’t wait to see the environment getting ruined by plastic. Profit-making should not be their sole intention and they should also pay attention to environmental issues.”