The state government will soon extend the ban on plastic to packaged products like biscuits and other eatables manufactured by multinational companies, environment minister K C Karuppannan told the assembly on 4th January 2019. The ban is now limited to 16 types of plastic material, he said.
Raising the issue during the debate on thanking the governor for his address to the assembly, DMK member Geetha Jeevan, representing Tuticorin, said the government banned the material used by small-time traders,selling flowers and food items on streets. “But not all types are banned. Will the government ban these too,” she asked.
Almost all department stores and supermarkets stock eatables and other kitchen products packed in coloured plastic ware, she said. “Most of these are manufactured by big companies like ITC.”
In reply, the minister said that soon messages would be sent to manufacturers of plastic used to package eatables as that is also against the environment. “In June last year, soon after the CM announced the ban on 16 types of plastics from January 1, we divided the state into 6 divisions. In each division, an IAS officer was put in charge to create awareness about the dangers of using plastic. We gave six months for traders and others using plastics to change their packaging material,” he said.
The government denied that there will be loss of employment. “There will be no loss of jobs due to the ban and we will not give any more time for not using plastic. Six months is enough and almost all shops and hotels have changed their packagings,” the minister said. Opposition members wanted the government to offer financial relief for the companies that had been making the material.
“Several of them are facing losses. The government must waive their loans, so they will be free of any liability,” said IUML’s K A M Muhammed Abubacker. But the government did not respond. In December last year, the Tamil Nadu Plastic Manufacturers’ Association (Tapma) had alleged the ban was discriminatory in nature, allowing the use of plastic in many government sectors and large-scale private sectors, while banning it for the general public and small-scale private sectors.
“The government order bans all forms of plastic packaging including by small retail outlets, grocery shops, whereas the same is permitted for MNCs and FMCG companies,” a Tapmamember had said.
Source: The Times of India