After dilly-dallying over the implementation of banning plastic carry bags and single-use plastic for almost two years, the state Environment Department, headed by Minister for Environment Aaditya Thackeray, said it has decided to begin taking strict action against violators from January 26.
Officials of the Environment Department said Aaditya took review of the implementation of the plastic ban during a meting held last week. Issues pertaining to the enforcement of the ban, recycling of plastic, recollection and recycling of multi-layered plastic, among others, were discussed during the meeting, an official said.
Anil Diggikar, Principal Secretary of the Environment Department, said Aaditya has given instructions to strictly implement the ban starting January 26 after creating awareness. “We will urge people to not buy banned plastic items,” Diggikar said. “We will create awareness in the next few days. Then, we will start taking strict action against violators from January 26.”
In March 2018, the Environment Department banned the manufacturing, usage, transport and distribution of plastic carry bags, as well as single-use disposable items, along with a ban on use of plastic and thermocol for decoration purposes. It also brought multi-layered and tetra packaging under the ambit of the ban, with a rider of putting in place a collection and recycling mechanism for the plastic waste.
Aaditya, who was instrumental in bringing a ban on single-use disposable plastic items in the state, took charge of the Environment Ministry earlier this month.
An official from the Environment Department said the action was taken in the initial months after the ban came into force. “Due to the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls last year, there was not much action taken by local bodies…Now, we will create awareness among the people and will ask local bodies to take strict action,” the official said.
Another official said the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and local bodies have collected fines to the tune of Rs 6 crore, and has seized around 1,200 metric tonne of banned plastic. Over 400 plastic manufacturing units have been given closure notices by the MPCB, the official said.
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