Industrialist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has called for a universal ban on single-use plastic to rid the communities of the "malaise". But industry body ASSOCHAM said there must be a road map for phasing out plastic goods, and a healthier and environmentally-friendly alternative found and promoted. "For instance, jute, textiles etc (such alternatives) for bags etc", ASSOCHAM Secretary General DS Rawat said.
Ms Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon Ltd, said single-use plastic -- or disposable plastic used only once before they are thrown away or recycled - is an environmental polluter that needs to be banned to save our planet. "Every State and country ought to ban this modern day inconvenience that is now known to be an irresponsible habit", she told news agency PTI.
"I think there is now a sense of urgency to rid our communities of this malaise". She welcomed the state-wide plastic ban in Maharashtra and hoped other States would follow. "I hope it doesn't remain an announcement, but strictly enforced".
Mr Rawat, meanwhile, said plastic is a part of everyday life and "it is a reality". "Should we ban it? In principle, yes, but an industry worth crores of Rupees and employing millions of people cannot be wished away overnight", he said. Asked if ASSOCHAM favoured a nation-wide ban, Mr Rawat said
such a thing cannot just be imposed without a proper road map for a viable alternative.
"The manpower must also be re-trained for alternative products and technologies", he told PTI. "The pressure from the Green is only going to increase and the industry must be ready for such an eventuality".
Products like jute, textiles, paper, recycled clothes and even metal containers must be used, according to him. Another alternative to plastic bottles for instance is glass. "But if the clock has to be reversed, there must be a holistic environment policy at the national level, protecting the interests of consumers, producers, States and trade", Mr Rawat added.