As the Manipur government's decision to ban single use plastics in the state is set to come into effect from July 1, 2022, Manipur’s plastic industries are unwilling to discard less than one litre capacity drinking water bottles.
The demand for 500 ml water bottles is high in the state, despite the state government extending the plastic ban to PET bottles with less than one litre capacity, they stated.
However, market leaders in packaged water Likla and others are unwilling to toe the line. The people's demand for 500 ml is very high in the state in any brand name. In every ceremony, PET bottles less than 1 litre are in highest demand and even in the market, they said.
While interacting with shop owners in Imphal city, many stated that there is no difference between above 1 litre bottle and below 1 litre bottle in quality but only in size.
Proprietor of KSHIS Plastic Industries, Ksh Ibochou Singh said that the notice issued by the state government was shortly after the cabinet decision to ban plastic in the state.
"Huge losses will be faced by the industries as almost all industries in the state have taken loans for running industries," he said, adding that amounts have been spent on buying preform of 500 ml water bottles while large numbers are in supply-line.
If the government starts banning, then all such 500 ml bottles (less than 1 litre water bottle) will be wasted, Ibochou said. “Who will bear the liabilities?” he asked, saying, “Industries will target employees by reducing employees as they will not be able to pay salaries”.
However, on the other side, industries have to follow the state government order but it will not be easy to ban 500 ml bottles easily due to the high demands of the people, said another employee who works at Cramen Plastic Industries.
In Cramen Plastic Industries, almost all employees, who are working inside the industries, are young women. They said that about 39,000 quantities of 500 ml water bottles are to be produced. It will be a waste if it starts from July 1, they stated.
Recently, the Manipur state cabinet approved the Manipur Plastic Policy 2022, to combat plastic pollution and Manipur Tourism Policy to harness the tourism potential of the state.
To combat the menace of single-use plastics, the Union Environment Forest and Climate Change Ministry has decided to curtail the use, manufacture and sale of single-use plastic items with “low utility and high littering potential” and plastic bags of less than 120 microns by the end of 2022.
Meanwhile, the Manipur government has approved the Manipur Plastic Policy, 2022, for the implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016, which were amended in 2021.
Along with it, the Manipur cabinet has also approved the Manipur Tourism Policy to harness and evolve the tourism potential of the state. Additionally, it is expected to create employment and livelihood opportunities and boost investment and income generation in the state.
From July 1, under Manipur Plastic Policy, 2022, the government bans earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene for decoration, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packaging films around sweet boxes, invitation cards and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, stirrers, PET or PETE bottles less than 1 litre capacity for holding drinking water.
Under the policy, plastic carry bags less than 75 microns in thickness are banned till December 30, 2022 while plastic carry bags with less than 120 microns in thickness are banned with effect from December 31, 2022.