March 14 will mark the end of plastics and the beginning of a cleaner environment in Bangalore. The State government has finally enforced a complete ban on plastic bags, covers and sheets.
The ban includes bags above 40 microns of thickness (the previously allowed limit), thermocol and plastic beads.
There will be certain reasonable exceptions, however. According to the cabinet, packaging for dairy products, exporting goods, sealing manufactured goods and plastic bags used for growing seedlings in nurseries are allowed.
Bangalore generates nearly 1050 tonnes of plastic garbage a day.
It has more than 2000 plastic manufacturing units and nearly 70,000 people involved in its manufacturing or selling, directly or indirectly. This was a cause for concern when the ban on plastic was first announced by CM Siddaramaiah in January 2015.
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A large number of those who work in the plastics manufacturing industry come from the Dakshina Kannada district. Worried about their livelihood, many of them opposed the move. Besides this, lobbying by the big names in the industry deterred the government from taking any formal action until October 2015.
After a formal approval by the cabinet, an expert committee of four was formed. Based on their suggestions and opinions, the final notification for the ban was issued on March 4 this year.
The committee also suggested that the labourers who would lose their jobs due to the ban could take up work in industries manufacturing alternatives to plastic, such as paper, cloth and jute.
The government’s doubts on how this would affect the revenue of the state were quashed by the finance department. It reported that the cost of eliminating plastic from the landfills and waste disposal systems and its subsequent effect on the environment was much higher.