KOCHI: With a nation-wide ban on single-use plastic to come into effect from October 2, those associated with the industry are a worried lot. The proposed ban aims at stamping out as many as six items namely plastic bags, cups, plates, small bottles, straws and certain types of sachets. As per the data provided by the Kerala Plastic Manufacturers’ Association (KPMA), the ban will affect one lakh people.
According to Balakrishna Bhat Kakunje, president, Kerala Plastics Manufacturers’ Association, even though we do welcome the government’s decision, we hope it takes into consideration the effect it will have on the livelihoods of a large number of people. “The culprit per se is not plastic but the civic sense of the citizens and the lack of proper waste management strategy,” he said.
“All types of plastics are recyclable. Hence, if the government, especially the local self-government bodies had implemented the three R’s - reduce, reuse and recycle, effectively by motivating the citizens to segregate the waste right at the source, this problem would have never risen,” said Balakrishna. The ban will not only affect the manufacturers but also the consumers, he said.
“Do we have an alternative source that is as economically viable as plastic bags in the market? In my opinion, the alternate options available right now in the market are very costly,” he said. According to him, the ban will also place the small-scale enterprises like the ones that make dosa/idli batter in a tough spot. “They will have no option but to close shop.
One thing that has to be noted is that plastic carry bags are recyclable. However, the plastic bags in which snacks manufactured by the MNCs are sold can’t be reused or recycled,” he said. These multi-layer plastic bags are ones which cause maximum pollution.“In one-day approximately, one lakh packets of such snacks are sold in Kochi city itself. So, one can imagine the magnitude of pollution caused by them,” he said.