The Environment Department of the Government of Maharashtra has issued a ban on plastic products, as of June 23, 2018, under "Notification No.Plastic-2018/C.R. No.24/TC-4."Maharashtra is India's second-largest state with a population of more than 100 million.
The ban, which will be permanent, has caught many companies and suppliers unprepared, resulting in fines. However, there are several areas where exemptions have been issued, including the transportation and handling of pharmaceutical products. The ban on single-use plastic items including shopping bags, food containers and cutlery was announced in late March, but recently went into force.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called plastic a "menace to humanity" in a speech earlier this month. His government has pledged to eliminate single-use plastic in India by 2022, joining a global campaign that has been given added urgency by research showing there will be more plastic by weight than fish in the oceans by 2050.
Exemptions For Transportation Purposes
The following exemptions have been confirmed as defined in notice No.Plastic-2018/C.R. No.24/TC-4. Paragraph 3:
- Plastic bags or plastic used for packaging of medicines, including plastic packaging used for transportation of pharmaceutical products/materials
- Transportation of diagnostic specimens--ambient and frozen packaging (including polystyrene boxes used exclusively by the pharmaceutical sector)
- No apparent disruptions on import of packaging for exclusive use in the pharmaceutical sector, however, additional supporting documents may be required for future shipments. Note that import requirements for future shipments may require special labeling or permits from the Central Pollution Board.
Plastic Shrink Wrap Restrictions
The use of plastic shrink-wraps is restricted, as per notice No.Plastic-2018/C.R. No.24/TC-4. Paragraph 3, chapter iv; “The plastic cover / plastic to wrap at the manufacturing state or an integral part of the manufacturing. Guidelines to recycle or reuse such plastic should be printed prominently on the cover and material.” The use of the bubble wraps as a component of the packaging for the transportation of the pharmaceutical product is possible under the guidelines to recycle the material, however, future imports or manufacturing of this material will be restricted under the new regulations.
The government is being lobbied by several industry sector to implement the restrictions in phases and relax some norms, as per Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-plastic-ban/amazon-hm-and-other-multinationals-pressing-to-soften-indian-states-plastic-ban-idUSKBN1JP0BU
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Quick will continue to monitor the implementation and progress of this requirement and will be sharing additional information if status changes.
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