The Confederation of All India Traders is of the opinion that the absence of equivalent alternatives to single-use plastic could make the ban a nightmare for trade and commerce in India
Come July 1, and the government is all set to enforce the ban on single-use plastics. Termed as a great step that would help protect the environment, the ban that is being lined has a few hassles that need to be addressed. The prime obstacle is the absence of equivalent alternatives, which could make the ban a nightmare for trade and commerce in India. Or, so feels the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
Though CAIT has stated that traders in India endorses the government measures to enforce zero use of single use plastic, CAIT also is of the opinion that the sufficient preparations have not been done to provide an equivalent alternative to single-use of plastic. In view of the mass usage of single use plastic throughout the country, a complete ban will prove much detrimental for the trade and industry, according to the traders’ body. CAIT has shot off a letter to the Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav stating this.
Going by the words of CAIT National President B C Bhartia, Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal and National Core Committee Member SS Manoj, in view of the non-availability of equivalent alternatives, an extension to the enforcement of the ban for a reasonable time may be made. Also, in the meantime, the government needs to hold discussions with stakeholders on equivalent alternatives to avoid any inflation in the prices of the goods where plastic is used.
Extended timeline for single use plastic ban urged
CAIT has suggested that a task force may be formed comprising senior officials and stakeholders to draw out a timeline for implementation of this order and to explore equivalent alternatives. While assuring the support of the business community of the country, the body has sought an appointment Yadav on this issue.
Since traders are the first connect point for the consumers and the public, they will have to face the consequences though the traders selling the products are acting merely as a component of the supply chain making things available for the public.
However, 98 percent of single use plastic is used by MNCs, corporate manufacturers, producers, e-commerce companies, warehousing hubs, industry and other types of production units either in their production line or packaging of finished goods. The traders are under compulsion to sell goods in whatever packing they receive from the manufacturer or source of origin.
Unless and until, these companies and manufacturing units are not compelled to stop use of single use plastic either in the production line or in packing of finished goods, there will always be an occasion for usage of single use plastic at the consumer end, they believe. In this context, effective steps are imperative to bind such manufacturers or places of origin to stop using single use plastic. Further, equivalent alternate carry bags in place of plastic carry bags may also be made available so that plastic carry bags are not used for holding the goods, CAIT representatives said.
Awareness and availability of alternative products two core issues
Tens of thousands of industries and production units across the country are engaged in plastic trade providing employment to several people. In the event of a stoppage of single-use plastic, their business activities will come to an end, which may also result in unemployment of all such people working in these companies. In this context, the government should carve out some viable alternatives so that these industries and production houses may divert their business activities to such viable alternatives and employment is not disturbed, it has been mooted.
Pointing out that if single-use plastic is not used at production and finishing stage, or goods are not packed in single-use plastic at the origin itself and are packed in alternative packaging automatically, the usage of single-use plastic will come down drastically as the traders in supply chain will deliver the goods to consumers in alternative packaging. However, awareness and availability of alternative products are two core issues, the CAIT office-bearers stated.