Revised Act limits use of plastic spoons, plates too
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According to the new draft, which is the second amendment to the rules mentioned in Section 4 of the Maharashtra Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act 2006, many significant changes have occurred in the past few years. "This act has been in place for the last four years and we realised that there were some loopholes which needed to be plugged," said State Environment Secretary Valsa Nair Singh.
The proposed rules will disallow the burning of plastic bags or containers in open residential areas or dumping grounds. Additionally, plastic dumping in protected areas, hill stations, mangroves, water bodies, religious places and schools will be strictly prohibited. "Not only carry bags, but even items such as plastic spoons and plates have been brought under the purview of the act this time due to complaints of their use in wedding parties," Singh said.
There will be an increased onus on manufacturers of these materials whereby they will have to collect any plastic items strewn around and arrange for their scientific disposal. "Actually, manufacturers themselves came forward to effectively manage plastic waste saying they want to dispel the myth that plastic is a bane," Singh said. They are also required to print on the bag, its cost and whether it is intended for food-grade or non-food grade use.
Innovative ways such as the involvement of unemployed youth, voluntary organisations and non-government organisations (NGO) will be adopted for effective implementation of these rules.
Any individual found acting in violation of these rules will be penalised. A fine of up to Rs 5,000 will be slapped on a first-time offender, up to Rs 10,000 on a second-time offender and a third-time offender will be remanded to up to three months in jail combined with a fine of up to Rs 25,000. If the offence is committed by a company, those involved will be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
In the past, the number of people booked for such offences has been minimal due to discrepancies in the rules. "But all those issues have now been resolved and we are confident that these amendments will definitely solve the problem," Singh said.
In fact, this act has inspired the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 put out by the Ministry of Environment and Forests(MoEF), Government of India, earlier this year, Singh added.
The draft has been put up on the department's website for suggestions and will be taken into consideration by the state government on July 22.
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