Proposed ban on single-use plastic: Manufacturers in Rajkot postpone rally to raise support

Rajkot, Bhavanagar, Ahmedabad and Vadodara are major hubs of plastic manufacturing.

The plastic manufacturers of Rajkot Tuesday postponed their silent rally planned Wednesday against the proposed nation-wide ban on single-use plastic items, stating that they needed to garner wider support to raise their voice.

Rajkot Plastic Manufacturers Association (RPMA) said that they have postponed their silent march to the office of Rajkot city police commissioner which they had earlier planned to take out on Wednesday. The decision was taken at an RPMA meeting held at the office of Rajkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the city late on Tuesday evening.

Around 250 members of RPMA who are into manufacturing of single-use plastic items attended the meeting. The members felt that it was necessary to win support of our counterparts in Dhoraji, Bhavnagar and other parts of Saurasthra before launching any public awareness campaign to draw attention of the government. Therefore, we have postponed our rally till September 25, Bharat Parasana, vice-president of RPMA, told The Indian Express.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a comprehensive ban on single-use plastic items that pose threat to environment.

The ban is likely to become effective from October 2. However, Parsana said banning the items was not a solution. They want to ban single-use plastic items on the ground that it causes harm to the environment. But paper items which are being touted as replacement for plastic will do greater harm to environment as more trees will be felled to manufacture them. Therefore, there is no viable alternative to plastic. Instead, the government and public should view the situation as solid waste management issue. We need to put in place a system of collecting plastic waste on the line of waste paper collection system. Single-use plastic items can fetch up to Rs 15 per kg if people are willing to collect and sell them and such used items can be recycled into other products. The plastic recycling factories in Dhoraji taluka of Rajkot are the best example of this for entire country, Parsana added.

Rajkot, Bhavanagar, Ahmedabad and Vadodara are major hubs of plastic manufacturing.

The RPMA vice-president said that should the government indeed go for the ban, more than 12,000 people will be rendered unemployed in Rajkot alone.

There are around 250 to 300 units in Shapar-Veraval, Rajkot and Kuvadva in Rajkot district which manufacture single-use plastic items. If the ban comes into force, around 12,000 people directly employed by these manufacturing units will become unemployed. Not only that, factories will not be able to repay their bank loans and would lead to an increase in non-performing assets of lenders, added Parsana.