CHENNAI: The state government on Monday informed the Madras High Court that steps have been taken to ensure the usage of banned plastic products would be avoided for wrapping and packaging firecrackers in the state. It also has been reported that 969 fireworks manufacturing units are using cellophane papers derived from cellulose for wrapping the crackers.
The submission was made in a report, by R Rajamanickam, Additional Chief Environmental Engineer of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), filed through the Special Government Pleader T Seenivasan before a special bench of Justices S Vaidyanathan and PT Asha. "The district environment engineer, TNPCB, Virudhunagar, has instructed firework manufacturers associations that all their member units shall not use any banned plastics for their activities, including wrapping their products," the report said.
The submission was made in response to the queries raised by the bench during the last hearing about whether the government had taken any proactive steps to stop the usage of banned plastic items for wrapping firecrackers ahead of the Deepavali festival.
According to the report, the representatives of fireworks manufacturing associations, in a recent meeting with the TNPCB, had stated that they were using cellophane paper for wrapping as they were well aware of the Tamil Nadu government's ban on single-use plastic products. Cellophane paper, bio-sourced from cellulose, is biodegradable and compostable, and does not exhibit any problem associated with 'static electricity'.
The report also informed that samples of the cellophane paper were collected from the manufacturing units and were sent to the Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering and Technology (CIPET) in Chennai for carrying out 'base material identification tests'. The tests have proved that the paper is made of cellulose and revealed that no plastic content were present in the samples.
One of the cracker manufacturers in Sivakasi, which is a major hub of firecracker manufacturing in the country, and a member of the Cracker Manufacturers Association G Vinayaga Moorthy said cracker manufacturers has been adhering to the usage of cellophane for wrapping purpose.