<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government’s ban on plastic bottles from beginning early 2018 will cover government offices, educational institutions and functions organised by it before it is extended to private offices. Apart from plastic bags, the ban from Gudhi Padwa (Maharashtrian New Year) will cover plastic and thermocol plates and bowls, spoons, and sachets and wrappers used to package pulses and eatables like chips and biscuits.Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam met officials from municipal bodies and district collectorates in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) on Thursday and announced a ban on plastic bags from March 2018 considering its environmental impact.”Plastic bottles will be banned in all starred residential hotels, government and local self-government body offices and schools and colleges. Restaurants (eating houses) will be covered later. No plastic bottles will be served at government functions,” said Kadam. He added that private offices and mass functions will be included in the ambit subsequently.An environment department official said that before the ban, they planned to proscribe plastic bottles in the state government headquarters of the Mantralaya.”Mineral water producers can shift to glass bottles or these bulk consumers can establish reverse osmosis (RO) units to purify water and serve it in glass bottles or dispensers,” he added.It will reduce the use of plastic bottles, which are discarded, unlike glass bottles which can be recycled. However, customers will be able to purchase water packaged in plastic bottles from stores. The ban may be implemented in phases after modalities and alternatives are discussed with stakeholders.An official admitted that the PET bottles ban in private establishments and mass functions would largely depend on “self-regulation” though the authorities can invoke the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Village and ward-level committees will be formed to help in the implementation.About the banKadam said officials would visit states like Kerala and Himachal Pradesh where plastic had been banned before tabling a proposal before the Maharashtra cabinet. He added that violators who continued using plastic bags would attract a fine up to Rs 25,000 with subsequent violations leading to the suspension of licence.
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