On Friday, the Bombay High Court declined to stay Maharashtra government’s ban on usage of plastic bags – however, to grant relief to people getting in the role, the high court has ruled out any penalties on individual for the possession of banned items for two months – till June 23, 2018.

Plastic is a serious global problem and we all know it, but very few of us act on it – which compels the governments to introduce laws which would limit the exploiting usage of plastic. Pointing out the precise source of plastic problem in India – it will be plastic bags. We use them, we throw them and we use new ones – in uncontrolled and unimaginable amounts – abusive usage of plastic. So in a very-much-needed move to fight this, the Maharashtra government stepped up and decided to completely ban usage and possession of plastic items – once and for all from March 23, 2018.

Meanwhile, all actions have consequences and the one which came with the Maharashtra ban couldn’t be ignored – the disposal of existing plastic possessions. Petitions were filed in the Bombay HC, requesting to put a stay on the plastic ban, but it was rejected by the high court. However, taking a move over this issue, division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla of the Bombay High Court removed all ambiguities from the state’s decision to give three months’ time to all to dispose of the proscribed items, saying no coercive action can be taken against individuals found in possession of the banned plastic items till June 23. This order comes as a relief to citizens who could be in possession of the banned plastic items and bottles.

Besides this, the plastic manufacturers had expressed that the ban will mean loss of livelihood for thousands of families working in the industry. But the HC bench said that it cannot ignore “the harmful effects created by clogging of drains and indiscriminate throwing of plastic waste.” The HC bench had allowed the petitioners representing various plastic manufacturers’ associations to approach the government within a week with requests for exemptions and modification of the rules. Upon this, the associations said that they planned to avail of the lifeline given to them to approach the state government. The decision will be taken by the state by May 5 and the final hearing on the case will be made in June.

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