Penalty planned, plastic packings to cost more

Penalty planned, plastic packings to cost more

PLUGGING PLASTIC: Following the announcement in the budget, a plastic waste management fee of 3% on MRP bases wil be levied on sale of goods packed in plastic within local areas. DH File Photo

Soon, consumers will have to pay more for purchasing items packed in plastic.

Reason: the state government has decided to impose additional charges on all items which are packaged and sold in plastic items. This not only includes branded items, but even basic rations which are packed in transparent plastic packets and sold in retail outlets.

The finance department is working towards implementing the announcement in the budget by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. In the budget, the chief minister had announced a plastic waste management fee at 3% on MRP bases on sale of goods packed in plastic within local areas. The government has put the onus on civic authorities to collect the fee and use it for reprocessing the plastic.

Kumaraswamy had mentioned this proposal during his World Environment Day speech on June 5 to levy 4-5% tax on purchase, use and improper disposal of plastic.

S Subramanya, economic advisor to the chief minister, told DH that modalities were being worked out with the municipalities. The idea is to curtail the use of plastic. “A person who uses plastic has to pay more. There is no need to take public opinion as people should decide whether to use plastic or not,” he said.

Subramanya said there are alternatives to plastic available in the market. But no one uses them. To increase awareness, the government will establish an institute of alternative packing technology. The institute will advice people on best-suited alternatives.

Officials of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) say according to municipal solid waste management rules and the Environment Act, there is a provision to penalise manufacturers, if they do not collect and recycle the sold plastic items.

“The rules should be strengthened. We are yet to get details, but as per preliminary discussions, it will be an additional burden to citizens,” said an official.

Citizens are not convinced with the idea. “We already pay garbage cess. It is the duty of the government to ensure that companies and stores act responsibly,” said Deepika L, a homemaker.

Sandhya Narayan, member of the Solid Waste Management Round Table, rued MRPs were passed on to consumers.

The government should instead ask manufacturers to pay for plastic management from their profit margins. There is also a need to understand how the MRP levied is passed on to the government and is not retained with companies.

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