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Let us sell water bottles: Industry asks not to put single-use plastic ban on small PET bottles

FE Online
Food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan favours a ban on plastics, but admits that no concrete alternative of packaged drinking water is available now

As the government has waged a war against single-use plastic bottles, various industry leaders have sought the removal of the proposed ban on PET water bottles of 200 ml and less, which they claim are 100% recyclable. The Packaging Association for Clean Environment (PACE) and the All India Association of Natural Mineral Water Industries have requested the government to reconsider the proposed ban as PET water bottles been listed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in to be banned items along with 11 other products, CNBC-TV18 cited sources as saying. CPCB’s larger list consists of items such as thin carry bags, non-woven carry bags, small wrapping, straws, plastic cups, etc.

However, the two industry representatives have submitted their suggestions to exclude PET bottles stating that they are recyclable, the news channel reported. Further, PET bottles cannot be replaced by paper bottles and aluminium as they are costlier alternatives. According to the industry representatives, glass is also ruled out from alternatives as it leaves a huge carbon footprint.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently called on global leaders asking them to follow India's footsteps in eliminating single-use plastic. Earlier this week, he said that the time has come for the world to bid adieu to SUPs. India is gearing up for the upcoming 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary and it is widely anticipated that the government will soon announce a blanket ban on single-use plastics. 

Meanwhile, a traders’ union recently said that while it appreciates the government’s move to curb single-use plastics, the government should also look into rehabilitating those who are employed in the production of plastic. The industry gives employment to tens of lakhs of people. “If an alternate is not provided to them then there will be chaos and unemployment,” BC Bhartia, CAIT’s president and Praveen Khandelwal, General Secretary, said. Confederation of All India Traders also said that e-commerce companies must also look into limiting their plastic use.