Industry has sought clarification on the government’s plan to phase out single-use plastic by 2022 and has urged the Center to provide clear guidance. An immediate ban will increase prices, resulting in job losses and disrupting supply chains, businesses said.
“The uncertainty has led to the closure of about 10,000 units and the plastics industry is looking ahead to the Diwali season’s job cuts of 4.5 lakh people,” said Jayesh Rambhia, co-chairman of the environmental panel, All India Plastic Manufacturers Association. “The industry urgently needs clear guidelines on what the single-use plastic short and long-term strategy is.”
The nation has an estimated 50,000 plastic production units. The government on October 2, as was widely expected, did not ban single-use plastic bags, small bottles, cups, plates, straws and certain forms of sachets. There was still no explanation of single-use plastic from government side.
“The Center instructed states to take action on October 2 but the Indian market, which was unified by GST (goods and services tax), is divided by different policies across states,” Rambhia said. “There is confusion and apprehension on the ground right now. If there is a widespread ban on single-use plastics without alternatives, the economy will come to a grinding halt.”
Nearly all consumer facing sectors, including food processing and grocery distribution, retailers use singleuse packaging or disposable material. That can be used only once before it is either thrown away or recycled.
Industry executives said proper waste separation and management, as in many developed countries, would solve the problem to a large extent.
“Single use plastic is part of every industry. The only solutions are clear guidelines on what is not appropriate and the strengthening of recycling facilities,” said Ramesh Chauhan, Chairman of Bisleri International.
In india, 18 states have banned plastic bags. Many such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh have banned single-use plastic products like cutlery, plates, cups, and straws.
According to estimates, India uses about 14 million tons of plastic per year. The Association of All India Plastic Manufacturers (AIPMA) said in a report that the plastic manufacturing industry in the country comprises more than 50,000 units with annual revenue at Rs 3.5 lakh crore in FY19.
Another Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report revealed that India produced 26,000 tons of plastic waste per day (TPD) in FY18, 60 percent of which was recycled, while the rest remained uncollected.