Ban on single-use plastics: Manufacturers, traders, workers hold protest in Ahmedabad

Traders, manufacturers and re-processors of plastics in Ahmedabad held a protest against the Central government s ban on single-use plastics, on Thursday. (Express photo: Javed Raja)

Over 400 manufacturers, traders and re-processors associated with the plastic industry held a protest rally in Ahmedabad on Thursday against the ban on single-use plastics, claiming that a blanket ban will affect the livelihood of around one lakh people associated with the industry.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, urged the people to shun single-use plastics from October 2. It is likely that the Union government might implement a ban on single-use plastic items, including plastic bags, cups, plates and other accessories, from that date.

The plastic industry traders and manufacturers demanded a withdrawal of the ban on plastic bags that are above 50 microns, claiming that they are 100% recyclable.

Recently, Delhi-based Central Pollution Control Board released a list of plastic items that are to be banned and they clearly mentioned plastic bags below 50 microns in the list. Yet, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has put a blanket ban on all types of plastic bags. This will affect the livelihood of around one lakh people associated with plastic industry in the city. We demand that there should be no ban on bags that are above 50 microns as they are 100% recyclable and safe, said Milan Sheth, plastic proprietor and spokesperson of Ahmedabad Plastic Manufacturers, Traders and Re-processors Association.

The aggrieved businessmen of plastic industry observed a complete shutdown of plastic market in Kalupur area of Ahmedabad on Thursday and took out a rally to the office of AMC, holding placards that read, plastic is not waste but best .

There are around 500 plastic manufacturing units, 200 plastic reprocessing units, 150 plastic proprietors and 40 units to make plastic machinery in Ahmedabad with around one lakh workers. The plastic proprietors claimed that till now the AMC has not defined the items under single-use plastics.

No one in the government knows about items under single-use plastics. They will not ban items such as shampoo sachets or biscuit packets. Even countries such as Singapore allow plastic bags that are above four microns. The alternative to plastic is paper but it is at a huge cost of environment as paper is made of wood. The government should rather focus on recycling and waste management than a blanket ban on plastic items.

We should also be given ample time in order to think of any alternatives, said Nilesh Shah, a plastic proprietor.