Confirming the ban order issued by the Tamil Nadu government on manufacture, storage and distribution of one-time use plastics with effect from January 1, 2019, the Madras High Court asked the State to reconsider the exemption granted to some of the consumables sold in such plastics, on Thursday.
The bench also recalled the order of a division bench in an identical case which directed the government to ensure that the plastic in various forms are phased out of the markets and the ban is implemented in letter and spirit before the end of 2019. “Even though the government has banned one-time use plastics, we feel that the ban is neither effective nor complete. Despite the ban, such plastics are freely available or used.”
“Unless hectic fines are imposed on the suppliers or stockists, the ban cannot be claimed to be effective or complete. The State should promote alternative products such as cloth or jute bags by one and all in the larger interest of protecting the environment from being hampered,” the bench noted.
Also, not impressed with the government’s submission that the plastic used for packing of milk, dairy products, oil, medicine and medical equipment are exempted as the mentioned products are essential commodities, the bench said, “When one-time use plastics are banned, the Government in its wisdom, ought to have considered banning of similar plastics in which these consumables are sold.”
“We therefore direct the government to implement the ban including all multi-layered plastic wrappers and covers which are meant for one-time use, so as to make the ban effective and meaningful,” the bench held while noting that the government can explore the alternatives for supply of Aavin milk through bottles or any other means instead of using the plastic cover.
The ban order was challenged by a batch of petitioners involved in the manufacture of non-oven plastic carry bags, paper cups and plastic carry bags based on its validity and correctness of the ban especially with the legislative competence of the State to impose the ban at the first place and the State not clarifying as to what constitutes a ‘one-time use and throw ‘ plastics and that it has affected their right to carry on trade on business.