'Blanket ban on plastic use is more harmful'

The Karnataka State Plastic Association has appealed to the State government to revisit its decision on imposing blanket ban on plastic bags.

Suresh N Sagar, secretary of the Association, told mediapersons here on Monday that paper bags which involve deforestation for their manufacture, cause more damage to ecology.  Wood, electricity and a huge quantity of water are required to produce one kg of paper or cloth bag, he said.

But the stringent environment regulations prohibit felling of trees. Besides, the Supreme Court has banned all new wood-based industries set up after 2001 from axing trees. Hence, the government and manufacturers will be left with no other option but to import wood, he said.

Suresh said the government should retain the ban on plastic bags with less than 40 micron thickness, but refrain from banning plastic bags above the standard thickness.
Suresh said the association  would be able to handle plastic waste, if their demands are fulfilled.

It has demanded that the government give subsidy for purchase of granule-making machines and asked the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to provide space for the machine in every ward. Segregated and cleaned plastic waste should be provided to the plastic industries so that they can recycle it.

The plastic industry, with about 800 units, provides employment to around 1.5 lakh people and sustains six lakh interdependent members. Its annual turnover in Karnataka alone is about Rs 1,000 crore, while it contributes to the nation's growth by paying Rs 5.5 crore as VAT, he said.

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