Thursday, February 22, 2018

Photo_1 (4)Calling it as an impractical suggestion, the idea of banning of carry bags and PET bottles mooted for Maharashtra was argued against by All India Plastics Manufacturers Association (AIPMA), the largest body of plastics industry in India. Supporting their points with examples, AIPMA urged the government to work jointly with all stakeholders to evolve a workable solution.

Maharashtra government issued a 3-month deadline to bottled water comp anies to set up a reverse supply mechanism and recycling plants, failing which a complete ban on plastics will be enforced in the state. According to AIPMA, it is proven that plastics have a lowest carbon footprint as compared with any other alternative in terms of transportation, production process, power consumption, processing temperatures, scrap recycling & washing, etc.

Elaborating on the issues, Hiten Bheda, President, All India Plastics Manufacturers Association (AIPMA), said, “We urge the state government to drop the idea of banning plastic products and work jointly with all stakeholders. AIPMA is ready to provide all technical support in plastic waste management.

banning-plastic-bags-in-Rodrigues (1)Currently in India, about 90% of PET bottles are recycled and the material is most recycled in the world.PET bottles are now used for water, cooking oil, aerated drinks, Pharma, and various other packaging. Plastic bags are used for zip-lock bags, milk packaging, ghee, atta, cereals, bread, various other food packaging which need long shelf life. Most of the medicines, both OTC and prescribed drugs, use plastic as packaging.

Ban would not only impact the plastics universe but also the user industries. It would also be a challenge in enforcing the ban as consumers will source goods from neighboring states. The ban will go against the principle of one nation – one market”.Mr. Haren Sanghavi, Association’s Chairman, further clarifies that “Plastics industry’s universe in India includes 55,000 prrecyclingindustrialcomplexocessing companies, 20,000 recycling units, 55 lakh direct employees and over 70 lakh indirect employees including rag-pickers and waste collectors.

Banning Plastics will not solve the issues that the Government is planning to irradiate, but will cause mass unemployment and de-industrialization. Solution is improved waste management and ban on littering”

On the environmental impact of plastics, Akhilesh Bhargava, Chairman, Environment Committee, AIPMA, shared that the environment and health hazards will be more from using alternative materials.

It takes 20 liters of water to clean one crate of glass bottles meaning about 120 crore litres water to be used up annually for this.

Water is scarce in drought-prone Maharashtra. Storing water in glass bottles is far less hygienic as washing is not enough to sterilize them. A HDPE plastic bag would have a baseline global warming potential of 1.57 kg CO2 equivalent, the same as a paper bag used four times. A cotton bag would need to be re-used 171 times to emit a similar level, 1.57 kg Co2.

Indeed, plastics are an intrinsic part of everyday life today. It is difficult to imagine a school student carrying water in a glass bottle or buying milk through any other mode except plastic pouches.Photo_3Plastic has helped in healthcare too. Almost all saline waters come in plastic bottles, blood is transported in plastic pouches. From engine oils to agarbattis, it is plastics that are used in packaging.

The cell phones, the computers, pens, credit cards, etc are made of plastics. These days, the safest water to consume, when out of home, will be water in plastic bottles.