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TWO DAYS after the government allowed use of plastic bags in retail packaging with certain riders, plastic bag manufactures termed the move discriminatory, saying the government hasn’t applied the same logic in formulating rules for multi-layered packaging. In addition, manufacturers have demanded that plastic bags be permitted for use with a recollection and recycling mechanism on the lines of multi-layered packaging, the type of plastic packaging used for chips or packaged food.
The government issued a notification allowing plastic bags for retail-level packaging by groceries with the condition that they must use plastic above 50 microns, and that the minimum weight of such bags should be 2 grams. “It seems that the government is discouraging the sale of small quantities such as 10, 20 or 50 grams for retailers. The government hasn’t applied the same rules for multi-layered packaging. Why is there such a discrimination?” asked Viren Shah, president of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association.
“The multi-layered packaging is more harmful than the plastic bags as they are not recyclable. The government should have banned it in the first phase itself,” he added. Neemit Punamiya, general secretary of the Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India, said, “The government has given three months time for the multi-layered packaging for recycling and disposal. Then, why were we not given such time? The plastic bags, which are less harmful compared to the multi-layered packaging, have been banned from the day the ban was imposed on March 23,” said Punamiya. Punamiya said that the government hasn’t heard their pleas. “We are ready to ensure the recollection and recycling mechanism under the extended producers’ responsibility. Now, we will again approach the government on it,” he added. However, officials from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board said that enough time has been given to the plastic bag manufacturers.