Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray, who is believed to be the prime mover behind the plastic ban in Maharashtra, justified the measure for the sake of environment.
Aaditya, son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, also apologised to the people for the hardships being faced by them in the wake of the ban on single-use plastic.
“We should think whether not carrying plastic bags is important or preventing plastic from choking gutters is important. I apologise for the hardships but the ban is necessary to protect our future generations. There is so much plastic in the sea and rivers that it is also found in the stomach of fish we eat,” Aaditya told reporters at Mantralaya in south Mumbai.
Aaditya met Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam (Sena) and Principal Secretary in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ office Pravin Pardeshi.
The state government in March this year imposed a ban on manufacturing, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as one-time-use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items.
The ban came into force on June 23.
The ban prescribes Rs 5,000 fine for the first-time offenders and Rs 10,000 for the second-time offenders. Those who violate the ban for the third time will face a fine of Rs 25,000, along with a three-month imprisonment.
Aaditya said that feedback received from the common man about banning plastic was good.
“When there was no ban, there was a movement among citizens’ groups for creating awareness against plastic. I apologise for problems in implementation of the ban,” he said.
When asked about the Rs 5,000 fine, which many people feel is steep, Aaditya said it was necessary as it is supposed to act as a deterrent.
He refused to comment on the criticism of the plastic ban and the fine amount by his estranged uncle and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray.
Aaditya said the ban on plastic is already in force in 17 states. “For six months, we studied the plastic ban in all these places,” he recalled.