Plastic manufacturers urge authority to review EPR policy

Even as plastic remains banned in Maharashtra and many other states in India, about 400 companies facing closure notices because of the ban have made an urgent representation to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in Mumbai on Friday.

Highlighting the plight of the plastic industry in Maharashtra, these companies urged the MPCB authority to consider the ambiguities in the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy, and called for withdrawal of the closure notices that had been slapped on them arbitrarily, while requesting for reasonable time in implementation of the EPR. 

The Maharashtra Government, in amending the Maharashtra Plastic & Thermocol Production Notification 2018, had issued a notification on July 30 and introduced a concept of Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) – which the MPMA describes as ‘ambiguious.’

Ravi Jashnani, President, Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers Associations (MPMA), while calling upon the government to withdraw the closure notices and undo seizures of all the affected units, said that the manufacturers should be given a reasonable time to respond and gear up for the same.

Meanwhile, the MPMA stated that hundreds of plastic procession units in Maharashtra including Pune, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Aurangabad, Solapur and Amravati have either been sealed or given closure notices for not complying with the EPR conditions. This action had led to fear of business loss among the manufacturers, while also causing huge loss to state revenue, layoffs of employees, trauma to owners over their investments and uncertainty over their livelihood, Jashnani said, adding that the ‘User Industry’ (wholesalers, retailers and consumers) is now sourcing the banned plastic from the neighbouring states and the flow is from clandestine sources as the government has not been able to control the import.

 “While imposing the ban on plastic, the Maharashtra Environment Minister had said that 80% of the plastic comes from the neighboring states,” he said.

Noting that the “User Industry” is the real polluter due to its marketing and handling plastic – for which only plastic producers are held guilty – Jasnani highlighted the need for time to study, understand, refining of the policy before its implementation.  “Just as constructive workshops were held while introducing VAT and GST, so also constructive dialogue was needed between the department and stakeholders for smooth implementation of the policy,” he said while noting that the simple solution is to implement EPR on “User Industry” so that irrespective of the source of plastic, the EPR would be accomplished.

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