In a responsible move, the government of Maharashtra has imposed a ban on the manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials starting June 23, 2018. The ban includes single-use bags, disposable cutlery, takeaway containers and thermocol items among others.  The penalty for the first offence will be Rs 5,000 and will increase. The third and subsequent offences will carry a three-month jail term along with a penalty of Rs 25,000.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s 249-member squad will educate residents about the ban over the weekend and come Monday, will start fining offenders. According to reports, the state of Maharashtra contributes to over 30 per cent of all plastic waste in the country.

There are some plastic materials excluded from the ban. They include plastic used for medicines, agricultural products, solid waste management, and compostable plastic used for nurseries. Milk bottles will have to be henceforth, recycled or users will have to pay the shops a small fee for recycling.

While the plastic ban is a sign of improvement and a much-needed breather for the environment, one can use alternate options. One can use containers made out of wood and bamboo for storage; edible cutlery; canvas, jute or cloth bags for grocery shopping; steel containers to buy liquids etc. 

Mumbai has joined cities like Seattle (US) and Hamburg (Germany) to ban plastic. Kenya has banned plastic altogether in the country with harsh penalties for offenders.