Chennai: The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edapadi Palaniswami made an announcement in the TN Assembly just a while ago that the government will bring in a proper legislation banning the manufacture and use of plastic bags in the State with effect from 1 January 2019.

Palaniswami made this announcement to mark the World Environment Day today and expressed his hope that the people and traders will help the government in protecting the environment from the disaster caused due to the excessive use of plastics. However, items like milk etc. will be exempted from this ‘no plastic’ rule.

It may be relevant to recall that some sections of the industry, in spite of their best efforts have not been able to stop the use of plastics because of alternatives not being available or being more expensive than plastics.
One example is the ice cream sector where there is a law banning packing of ice creams in plastic cups, but the manufacturers claim the paper cups manufacturers are unable to fulfil their demand and they are constrained to use plastic cups. The enforcing agencies are aware of this and look the other way.
It will be advisable if the government can work on creating the capacity for better alternatives before banning something.

The ban was primarily on plastic carry bags, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic flags, small plastic sachets used in packaging water, among others, he said.

The disposal of such plastic material affected the flow of wastewater and drainage and deeply affected the groundwater table, the Chief Minister pointed out.