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Bombay High Court Declines To Relax Ban On Thermocol For Ganesh Festival

The High Court said that it cannot ignore the government’s arguments on generation of over 1,200 tonnes of plastic waste every day

The Bombay High Court refused to relax the ban on thermocol for Ganesh Chaturthi
  • No relaxation on ban on thermocol items for Ganesh Chaturthi: Bombay HC
  • Cannot ignore government’s arguments on plastic waste generation: HC
  • HC refused Thermocol Association’s undertaking that it would dispose waste

New Delhi: The Bombay High Court today declined to relax the ban on sale of decoration items made of thermocol for use in the forthcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Maharashtra. A division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla dismissed a petition filed by the Thermocol Fabricator and Decoration Association, seeking relaxation of the ban only for this year’s Ganesh festival to be celebrated in September. Manufacture and use of a large number of plastic and thermocol items have been banned in Maharashtra. The petition claimed the association’s members would suffer huge financial losses if decoration material made of thermocol is not permitted to be sold in the market. `

The association also submitted an undertaking stating they will themselves dispose of the material. The state government opposed the petition and said the last day to dispose of the banned items was June 23. Despite this, the petitioner (the association) did not dispose of their material and instead kept it as it is and is now seeking relaxation, it argued. The HC said it cannot ignore the government’s arguments, made during hearing on petitions challenging the plastic and thermocol ban, that 1,200 tonnes of plastic waste is generated each day and there is no proper scientific provision for its disposal.

“In our earlier order refusing to stay implementation of manufacture, sale and use of plastic and thermocol items, we had observed the court cannot ignore the adverse effects of plastic waste on environment,” Justice Oka said today. The court also refused to accept the association’s undertaking that it would take back the sold thermocol material and dispose them of after the festival. Over the years, thermocol items are extensively used to decorate Ganpati pandals (temporary structures set up to keep Lord Ganesh idols). On March 23 this year, the government issued a notification, imposing a ban on manufacture, use, sale ,distribution and storage of all plastic materials like one-time use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and also thermocol items.

The notification was challenged in the HC by plastic, PET bottle and thermocol manufacturers and retailer associations on the grounds the ban was arbitrary, bad in law and violates their fundamental right to livelihood. In April, the same bench declined to stay the notification.

The notification gave three months (till June 23) to the manufacturers, distributors and retailers to dispose of the existing stock of prohibited items. “We have to consider the impact of plastic waste on the environment and the eco-system in general and the effect thereof on citizens. The harmful effects of plastic waste are multifold,” the court had said in its April order. Those violating the ban are fined and repeat offenders can be jailed.

Also Read: Maharashtra Plastic Ban: Buyback Scheme For Plastic Bottle, Milk Pouches Delayed By A Month

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.

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