Post the Government’s decision to implement the ban on plastic effective March 23, 2018, the hotel and restaurant industry in the state has once again come under duress to comply with a ban that has come into immediate effect. With the need to do away with all kinds of plastic utilities which have been in use for over two decades, hotels and restaurants are in a fix over identifying and adopting a suitable replacement. The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) while has appreciated the State Govt.’s intention to save the environment from the perils of plastic waste, has pointed out to certain practical considerations that may have escaped the attention of the State authorities before introducing the ban. In a letter to the Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Govt. Of Maharashtra, the Association has highlighted the immediate repercussions to the industry and has requested that the Govt. reconsiders extending the timelines.
“We are in favour of giving up the use of plastic and welcome the Govt.’s decision. However a ban on it with immediate effect has consequences which we are not in a position to deal with at this moment. There is a large stock of inventory of plastic items which is of high value. With the avenues for disposal or even transport of plastic being limited, the industry is faced with a massive write-off. We are requesting the Govt. to grant us a suitable transition time of about 60-90 days, to move to a plastic-free regime,” says Dilip Datwani, President, HRAWI.
Other than not having sufficient time to find the suitable replacement for plastic, the Association has also raised the issue of chain establishments that operate in multiple States.
“There are establishments that have operations and depots or distribution centres not only in Maharashtra but in other states too. As a result, plastic items used by these restaurant entities may move across many state boundaries. It will be not correct or appropriate or even practical to enforce the ban on plastic items not intended for use in Maharashtra. Hence we request that a suitable clarification be made for such exceptions and that the ban will not apply to such cases,” he adds.
Simultaneously the Association in a bid to find out the best possible options to replace plastic for the many applications it is used in, has invited its members for sharing suggestions.
“Since we too wish to expedite the process of migrating from plastic to environment friendly alternatives, we have invited our members to send in suggestions for best possible options. Curbing the use of plastic is a big step towards saving the environment and we will work inclusively with the Government on this,” concludes Datwani.