The Maharashtra government today told the Bombay High Court it has formed a special task force comprising plastic manufacturers’ associations, experts and government officials to come up with a solution to put an end to plastic use in the state.
On March 23 this year, the government had issued a notification, imposing a ban on the manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of all plastic materials like one-time-use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and also thermocol items.
The notification gave a period of three months to manufacturers, distributors and retailers to dispose of existing stock of the banned items.
Consumers and users were, however, given only a period of one month to dispose them.
The notification was challenged in the HC by plastic, PET bottle and thermocol manufacturers and retailer associations on the ground that the ban was arbitrary, bad in law and violated their fundamental right to livelihood.
In April, a division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla refused to stay the notification after observing that the court cannot ignore the adverse effects of plastic waste on environment.
The court had, however, protected citizens from prosecution for possession of these items for a period of three months.
The bench had then also directed the petitioners to file representations before the state government for further consideration on the issue.
The state government today filed an affidavit saying it has formed two committees – an expert committee under the chairmanship of the Additional Chief Secretary and an implementation committee.
The affidavit added that the expert committee was looking into the representations submitted by the petitioner associations.
“The government has formed a task force comprising different plastic manufacturing associations, experts from different institutions and government officials concerned to find out solutions and to prepare an action plan for plastic waste management to end the life cycle of plastic,” the affidavit said.
“The petitioner associations have not come up with any foolproof buyback mechanism for recycling of plastic waste,” the affidavit filed by Sanjay Sandanshiv, under secretary of the state environment department, said.
The court today directed the government to give copies of its affidavit to all petitioners and posted the matter for further hearing on June 22.