Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government is all set to enforce the statewide ban on single-use plastic effective from 1January, 2019.

“We appeal to the people to hand over the banned plastic items to our enforcement teams or local bodies," said commissioner, Tamil Nadu disaster management Rajendra Ratnoo.

The state government had on World Environment Day on 5 June announced the ban on ‘one-time use and throwaway plastic’ in the state, effective 1 January 2019.

“From Tuesday, there is going to be strict enforcement. But it doesn’t mean the government will immediately get into punitive mood. We do not want people to panic and dump plastic waste on roads and other public places. While it is going to be an enforcement phase initially, the government will soon impose a fine for stricter implementation of the ban," Ratnoo said.

Local bodies have set up collection centres for people to hand over banned plastics. Retail outlets have already started putting up notices asking people to bring cloth bags.

Minister for fisheries and spokesperson of AIADMK D. Jayakumar requested the public to cooperate with the government to successfully implement the ban. The government will work towards rehabilitation of all the micro, small and medium scale plastic manufacturers after the ban is implemented, he said.

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has listed 14 banned plastic products, including plates, cups, bags, plastic packaging material, plastic-coated items, non-woven bags, straws and plastic sheets. The government has put out a list of 12 eco-friendly alternatives, including cloth bags, glass containers, paper plates and cups, and banana leaves.

The TNPCB has also been coordinating with commercial and sales tax departments to keep tab on inter-state checkposts and block vehicles carrying banned plastic products.

“No industry or person shall manufacture, store, supply, transport, sale or distribute, ‘use and throwaway plastics’. No person including shopkeeper, vendor, wholesaler, retailer, trader, hawker or salesman shall use, ‘use and throwaway plastics’," said an order passed under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Last week, minister for environment, Tamil Nadu, K.C. Karupannan said that action will be taken against industries manufacturing banned plastic products after the 31 December deadline. The government has already issued legal notices to about 1,400 plastic manufacturing units across the state.

Madras High Court had recently dismissed a petition by the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Plastic Manufacturers’ Association, which had sought the withdrawal of the ban.

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