The state government’s proposed ban on ‘all kinds of plastic’ has created uncertainty about the future of the plastic bag manufacturing industry worth Rs 100 crore in Karnataka.
The fate of 6 lakh workers employed in the 850 manufacturing units in the state is now in limbo. Recently, the Minister for Ecology and Environment, Sogadu Shivanna announced the ban of plastic bags measuring less 40 microns in thickness.
The BBMP also favoured a total ban on plastic in the wake of difficulty faced in management of municipal waste. However, it seems like the government has give less or no thought to the plastic industry.
Suresh N Sagar, Secretary of the Karnataka State Plastic Association, told Express that while the association favours this ban, they are worried about the loans borrowed from banks, that they will have to repay.
“Out of the 850 manufacturing units currently engaged exclusively in plastic bag manufacturing in Karnataka, over 600 of them have borrowed huge loans from banks.
If we are forced to shut down, then how will we be able to repay the loans? Also our employees are worried about their jobs,” said Sagar.
The State government would also be losing over Rs 100 crore per year as revenue.
“Including VAT, Central Exchange Share and turnover tax, the Karnataka government would get a revenue of Rs 100 crore per year from this industry. Now they stand to lose out on that too,” he added.
The 850 plastic bag manufacturers in the state consume 200 tonnes of raw materials everyday producing 3 lakh plastic bags.
One kg of raw material can produce 1,000 plastic carry bags that weigh around 5-10 gms per bag.
“The government has failed to find a permanent and workable solution when it comes to waste management.
The Davanagere Municipal Corporation invested in a machine worth Rs 1.5 lakh. This machine is fitted with a heater inside that melts a plastic bag and converts it into a solid piece in just a few minutes.
This is the best practice and it should be adopted for better waste management,” Sagar explained. ‘Plastic Bags Coming in From Other States’
The State Level Plastic Advisory Committee had noted in 2011 that about 60 per cent plastic bags are entering the state from other places.
The committee also pointed out that most of the plastic bags used here are coming from Daman, Vapi, Halol, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In spite of regular reports from various associations, the BBMP has failed to completely stop the entry of plastic bags coming from different states, it is said.