Mumbai: As the Maharashtra government has today banned plastic, disposable items and one-time use plastic can't be used anywhere in the state. The fine for the first-time and second-time offenders will be Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000, respectively. A third violation will attract a fine of Rs 25,000 and three months in jail.
Errant manufacturers will face a strong action, but common people and small traders will not be harassed, Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam. "We will ensure that common people and small traders are not harassed. But strict action will be taken again plastic manufacturers (if they break the law)," the senior Shiv Sena minister said.
He said that an extensive awareness campaign will be carried out in the next eight days to inform people about banned items.
On March 23, the state government imposed a ban on manufacturing, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as one-time-use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items. The government gave three months for the disposal of existing stocks.
Star couple Kajol and Ajay Devgan, appealed to citizens to make "little effort" to save the city, the country and the world from plastic pollution.
"We always think of leaving something for our kids. We think of leaving property or bank balance for them. It would be better if we thought of leaving behind green environment for them."
Mumbai generates 500 metric tonnes of everyday which accounts for nearly 10% of its total waste. While this ends up in the garbage dumps and landfills, a lot of the plastic also ends up clogging drains and in the sea, leading to massive marine pollution around Mumbai.
One lakh marine animals are killed due to plastic every year globally and coastal areas around Mumbai have also seen marine life deaths due to plastic. Versova-based lawyer Afroz Shah, who has been spearheading the beach clean-up since October 2015, has removed over 15 million kg of plastic from just Versova beach along with his team.
Shiv Sena Leader Aditya Thackeray, who has been instrumental in pushing through the ban on single use plastics, said: "Plastics are there in the sea, in the drains. It's even reached Mount Everest. We are not getting rid of all plastics. We are only targeting single use disposable plastics which have alternatives. I want to thank the courts for taking cognizance of the problem and upholding the move."
BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta told NDTV, "We are looking at implementation in two ways. One is the legal way where we now have to powers to impose fines and take action but beyond that we are looking at telling and convincing people that it's high time you stopped using plastic as there is an alternative."
The BMC also organised an exhibition to showcase alternatives that are available in place of single use plastics.
Mamata Asthana, a Hiranandani resident in Powai suburb told NDTV, "We have got 45 buildings together and we have decided that whatever the BMC does, whatever the extent of the plastic ban, we are going to become a zero waste society."
While everyone was in favour of the ban many expressed apprehension over the availability and quality of alternatives that were on display.
Cyrus Behram Irani, the owner of a popular bakery in south Mumbai told NDTV, "I am here to find out alternate ways and means. I am totally in support of the ban. I have not found any alternatives in the portions that I have covered."
(with inputs from PTI)