With the National Green Tribunal mulling ban on plastic packaging of products including PET bottles, a packaging firm has approached it claiming that it is “least polluting” while alternative materials like paper and aluminium foil are environmentally more “dangerous”.
The tribunal has listed the matter for arguments on May 7 and 8.
The plea moved by Uflex Ltd, before a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swantanter Kumar, said that globally multilayer plastic is “most preferred” and favoured packaging material compared to others because of its weight, cost of transportation and other benefits.
The petition was filed after NGO Him Jagriti Uttaranchal Welfare Society moved NGT seeking directions to restrict the use of plastic bottle and multi-layered plastic packaging including pet bottles by imposing a ban on packaging of carbonated soft drink.
The firm has said that Central Pollution Control Board has included “plastic” under “Green Category” i.e “least polluting” as it is recyclable and that alternative packing materials like paper and aluminium foil are for more environmentally dangerous.
“Many useful products have been developed with recycled plastics and large number of people are employed in these activities in small, micro and informal sectors,” it said.
Favouring more recycle plants for plastic rather than blanket ban, Uflex said that the Centre and state governments should allot land for waste management.
“The intervener company (Uflex) is a major stake holder and any adverse order passed without the applicant being heard will violate its fundamental rights under Article 14 and 19(1)(g) and Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the plea said.
Seeking exemption only for water and pharmaceuticals industries as these are “essential” items, the NGO had said unrestricted and unregulated use of plastics for the purpose of packaging has significant health and environment impact.
The green panel had earlier indicated that it favoured “restriction” on plastic packaging of products including PET bottles and granted final opportunity to various plastic manufacturing units and other parties to file their written submissions in the matter so that there contentions can also be taken into account.
The counsel appearing for Environment ministry (MoEF) had told the bench that meetings were held to consider various aspects of pet bottles packaging of food and food products etc but nothing could be materialised and further scientific study is required.
The bench had noted the Central Pollution Control Board and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSO) have sought a ban on using PET bottles or plastic containers in liquid oral formulations for primary packing.
“There appears to be commonality on the stand of various learned counsel appearing for the government and authorities that plastic multi-layered packaging /pet bottles would be injurious to human health.
“It also causes serious environmental hazards. It is in fact one of the largest sources of plastic municipal solid waste. As of now, nobody has been able to completely handle the issue of handling, collection and disposal of such waste successfully,” the tribunal had said.