Around 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally every yearReuters

The plastic ban by the Maharashtra government that came into effect from June 23 will result in a loss of Rs 15,000 crore and cost 3 lakh jobs, according to Neemit Punamiya, Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India (PBMAI) general secretary. 

Maharashtra announced on March 23 that it was banning the manufacture, sale, use, storage and distribution of plastic material like carry bags, PET and PETE bottles, spoons, plates and thermocol items in the state. The government gave a time of three months for the existing stocks to be disposed of.

"The ban has hit the plastic industry very hard and close to half a million people have lost their jobs overnight," says Punamiya. Terming the ban discriminatory, Punamiya says 2500 PBMAI members have been left with no choice but to shutter their plastic manufacturing units. According to industry experts, jobs losses due to the ban will adversely affect the GDP of the state and there will be an increase in bad loans as the manufacturers will not be able to repay loans taken from banks.

Shopkeepers in Mumbai say they were wary of stocking plastic carry bags fearing the imposition of heavy fines but this will make them turn away customers who will have no choice but to carry their own non-plastic bags. Customers have also complained about the inconvenience they were facing due to the ban.

A fine of Rs 5,000 will be imposed on first-time offenders and Rs 10,000 on second-time offenders. And if the person violates the ban a third time, he will have to cough up Rs 25000 and a jail term of three months.