It has been a month since plastic manufacturers submitted plans for a buyback mechanism for collection and recycling of plastic waste, but the state environment department is yet to take a decision on them.
The manufacturers, which were served closure notices, meanwhile, have demanded that the state government withdraw the notices as they have complied with its directive to submit buyback plans.
Over the past few months, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has served closure notices to 272 plastic manufacturing units in the state, sources said. Several units were served the notices for running without MPCB permission, manufacturing banned items and failing to submit the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) plans for collection and recycling of plastic waste, an MPCB official said. Of the 272 units, 94 are in Pune district, 59 in Mumbai, 30 in Palghar and 12 in Thane.
The official, however, said, as directed by the government, most of them have submitted EPR plans, which are yet to be approved. “The EPR plans require approval from the empowered committee headed by the environment minister. The meeting of the committee is yet to be held,” the official added.
In March last year, the environment department banned non-woven polypropylene bags along with plastic carrybags. In June, the government brought multi-layered and tetra packaging under the ambit of the ban. Under EPR, firms engaged in multi-layered and tetra packaging need to set up a mechanism to collect and recycle the plastic.
Hiten Bheda, former president, All India Plastic Manufacturers’ Association, said the government must withdraw the closure notices. “After the notices, we submitted EPR plans. Now, the government must withdraw the closure notices. It’s not only affecting our business but many people have been rendered jobless,” he said.
An environment department official said most manufacturing units served closure notices were into primary plastic packaging. “As per norms, primary packaging is allowed. The notices were given for non-submission of EPR plans. As most have submitted it, they should be allowed to function,” the official said.
Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam was not available for comment.