BENGALURU:The Karnataka State Plastic Association (KSPA) recently held a protest against the state's directive on banning plastic. They claim that the ban will lead to mass unemployment across industries that deal with the usage of plastic, including plastic industries, garment industries, bakeries and even electronics industries.
Vijay Kumar, president of KSPA, claims that approximately 10 lakh outlets across the state have been affected by the move, and a `1,000 crore (approximate) loss has been incurred by the industries. “In our own industry, more than one lakh people have been directly affected and three lakhs have been indirectly affected,” he says.
Saying that it is a garbage problem and should be tackled accordingly, their demand is that carry bags above 50 microns and plastic covers be allowed, so that the delivery of goods do not get affected.
‘Need workable deadline’
Industries that largely rely on plastic for packaging are the ones most affected by the ban. With no alternative to the quality and cost of this material, traders and industrialists are running into losses.
The garment industry, for example, has always used plastic for packaging. “Export and transport of these garments cannot take place without the use of plastic. If they are packaged in paper bags, they cannot be exported or transported.” says the president of the garment association, PH Raj Purohit.
“After agriculture, garments is the second largest industry that gives employment to women in the country. This ban will lead to a`20,000 crore loss within the industry,” adds Purohit.Likewise, the bakery industry has also been affected by the ban, as they have no alternative to package their products. Abhilash, who takes care of JB Bakery in RT Nagar, says that cardboard boxes can be used as an alternative for certain food products only. “But that will increase the cost of these food products, and the durability will also be affected,” he adds.
Manak Chandlunkad, president of electrical merchants association, is in support of using recyclable plastic in the electronics industry, saying that one must work around the ban and use recyclable products, as there is no alternative to plastic in most packaging. He says, “Materials like copper and brass have to be packaged in plastic, if not, when exposed to air, they get oxidised and the colour of the metal changes.” He also adds that an immediate ban is not possible to implement - a workable deadline must be given instead.
‘Will soon be on streets’
Kumar says that the BBMP has been harassing traders. “They did not even give them two weeks time after the ban was implemented. Will the State provide employment? Our assets will be taken away by banks, and soon, we'll be on the streets,” he laments. On asking BBMP Mayor Sampath Raj on the arrangements being made for those unemployed, he says that Deputy CM G Parameshwara will soon be conducting a meeting on the alternative material that can be used in place of plastic. “We will take care of their livelihoods,” the Mayor adds.