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Maharashtra not to ban all plastic carry bags

Our Bureau

Food products like milk, oil and other items like blood pouches will have to be packed in virgin plastic 50 micron in thickness.

Mumbai , Feb 7

THE Maharashtra Government has decided to enforce a thickness-specific ban on plastic carry bags and not a blanket ban of all plastic carry bags as originally envisaged.

The State Cabinet, which met on Tuesday, has approved the introduction of an ordinance that will ban plastic carry bags. Henceforth, the minimum thickness permissible for bags made of polyethylene or polypropylene is 50 microns and dimension not less than 8 by 12 inches.

The `Maharashtra State Non-biodegradable Garbage Control Ordinance' to enforce the ban will come into effect once the Governor clears the ordinance.

Speaking to Business Line, Ms Sharwaree Gokhale, Environment Secretary, said that the ban was only for carry bags, a major contributor to environmental pollution.

Food products like milk, oil and other items like blood pouches will have to be packed in virgin plastic 50 micron in thickness.

For packaging of such products, recycled plastic - which could be toxic and carcinogenic in nature - is prohibited, she added.

"Each bag will also have to carry the name and address of the manufacturer, registration numbers of the Industries Department, State Pollution Control Board, and thickness specifications."

In the case of recycled plastic, manufacturers will have to code/mark the plastic carry bags as per the Bureau of Indian Standards specification and the end product shall be marked "recycled' along with the percentage of recycled material used.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and Industries Department will be the authority for the enforcement of the provisions relating to manufacture and recycling of plastic bags.

The municipal corporation, with the help of agencies, will set up non-biodegradable waste collection centres in various areas - depending on the density of population - by April 1, 2006.

The ordinance also delineates the nature of punishment for offenders. First-time offenders will be fined Rs 5,000, second-time offenders Rs 10,000, and third-time offenders Rs 25,000 and three months imprisonment.

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