<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government is on a war footing to make Maharashtra plastic-free. Starting May 2018, you may not get plastic bottles of mineral water at hotels as the state plans to make it mandatory for water to be served only in glass bottles. In the next phase, this ban willl be extended to restaurants.Starting today, Maharashtra environment minister Ramdas Kadam and senior officials will hold a series of consultations with experts and stakeholders on the subject.While the ban on plastic bottles will be imposed on bulk users such as hotels, common customers will be able to buy water packaged in plastic bottles for a while longer. The state government also plans to eventually ban the sale of milk packaged in polythene bags, asking dairies and manufacturers to shift to glass bottles or sell milk loose.Civic bodies will be in charge of implementing the ban and the department plans amendments to the laws to ensure that licenses of establishments violating rules can be scrapped. However, common users will not be penalised as “this will be too dictatorial”.Kadam has announced a ban on plastic bags by Gudi Padwa (Maharashtrian new year) in March 2018, considering the environmental impact of plastic. The environment department plans to impose the ban in stages to cover plastic bags, cups, plates, with exceptions being built in for consumer uses in cargo and logistics, medicinal packaging and imported goods.”Initially, we plan to cover hotels, with restaurants being included in the next phase,” said a senior official. “Once we are convinced it will work, we will extend it.””Hotels will have to serve water to patrons either in glass bottles or purchase it from manufacturers in the form of large cans, from which water can be dispensed to customers in the loose. Bottled water manufacturers will also have to shift to packaging the beverage in glass bottles,” he added. These glass bottles will be re-cycled and re-used.Kadam said they were collecting information from states such as Kerala and Himachal Pradesh, where plastic has been banned, and added that options such as re-purchase and re-collection of plastic bottles were also being considered.Adarsh Shetty, president of Association of Hotels and Restaurants (AHAR), noted that the use of glass was likely to increase the price of bottled water and this would be passed on to customers. Handling of glass would also be cumbersome, he noted, adding that the focus should be on recycling and reuse of plastics.Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials estimate that plastic comprises around 3 to 5% of municipal waste. Mumbai generates around 10,000 ton solid waste daily.

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