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CAT asks for one year to comply with ban on single use plastic

Jamshedpur, July 3: In the wake of imposition of ban on single use plastic from July 1, 2022, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has today sent a communication to Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav urging for a one year lean period with a conciliatory approach instead of coercive methods for the implementation of the ban, formation of a joint committee of officials and stakeholders for developing equitable alternatives and launching of a nationwide education and awareness drive, support policy for manufacturing units for switching over their business to other alternatives and thereby protecting the huge employment, the Industry is currently having and plugging the usage of single plastic use at the end of manufacturers of different commodities.

CAIT National Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal and National Secretary Suresh Sonthalia in the communication sent to Yadav said that since it is the transformation period therefore serious initiatives are required to ensure that usage of single use plastic is minimized in phases leading to total idealistic situation of no usage of single use plastic.  The duty of the Government is to roll out the policy and respective orders but it may not reach to desired results and therefore for such a gigantic task of ushering into a new era having no usage of single use plastic, a comprehensive, collaborative and participatory approach is needed to ensure that in a short time, the Country should be free from single use plastic. Hence, we urge for a ‘participatory governance” as highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi several times, to ensure success of this initiative.

CAIT has urged Yadav to direct the concerned departments not to take any coercive action against any trader or unit for at least for first year and an effective national campaign should be launched with the support of all stakeholders to make it a national movement like Jan Dhan Yojna. They have suggested for constituting a joint committee of senior government officials and representatives of stakeholder with a time bound mandate of suggesting and developing equitable alternatives to single use plastic so that without any disruption, the country stops using single use plastic. It is to be noted that worldwide, the Countries have adopted a “phase-wise” approach to free the Country from plastic pollution.

CAIT Chairman Brijmohan Agarwal said that over the period of more than four decades, the usage of single-use plastic has become integral with the day today life of the people . The mass usage is either in packaging of goods or handling the goods primarily because of its negligible price and easy to handle. It is a matter of fact that so far the equitable alternatives are either not available or are much costly in comparison to the price of single use plastic.  Their use is extensive and includes industries such as food handling, storage, information technology, health care, transportation, energy management, building construction, and packaging etc.An immediate ban on usage of single use plastic may cripple several economic activities related to different sectors and a phase wise implementation approach is needed-said the leaders.

Khandelwal and Sonthalia said that the single use plastic has emerged a much bigger industry giving employment to lakhs of people in the Country and having an annual turnover of more than Rs 60 thousand crores. Banks and financial institutions have a great stake in the single use plastic industry and in a situation of a complete ban without providing any equitable alternative will have massive destruction in trade & commerce of the Country and will have huge financial repercussions and unemployment. They called for a support policy by the Government for switching over  of these units to alternative products or for some other economy related activity.

CAIT said that traders are the first connect point for the consumers and the public, they will have to face the consequences though the traders selling the products are acting merely as a component of the supply chain making things available for the public. However, 98% of single use plastic is used by MNCs, Corporate Manufacturers, producers, e-commerce companies, warehousing hubs, Industry and other types of production units either in their production line or packaging of finished goods. The traders are under compulsion to sell goods in whatever packing they receive from the Manufacturer or source of origin. Unless and until, these Companies and manufacturing units are not compelled to stop use of single use plastic either in the production line or in packing of finished goods, there will always be an occasion for usage of single use plastic at the consumer end.

Therefore, effective steps should be taken to bind such manufacturers or places of origin to stop using single use plastic. Likewise efforts should be made to develop equivalent alternate at different levels of usages in consultation with stakeholders-said both Khandelwal and Sonthalia.

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