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New Delhi: Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has urged the government to postpone the ban on single-use plastic, citing a lack of alternatives in the market. The ban is set to come into effect on 1 July.

In a letter to union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav, the association, that represents scores of small and medium traders pan India said that while the ban on single-use plastic is a pragmatic step and much needed to protect the environment it could prove to be a nightmare for trade and commerce in the absence of equivalent alternatives.

India is set to ban the usage of single-use plastic products including items plates, cups, straws, trays, and polystyrene starting next month.

However, several industries that rely on the use of such products have sought a gradual transition to plastic alternatives instead of a blanket ban. 

While the business community stands with the government on the issue but at the same time it is of the view that sufficient preparations have not been made to provide an equivalent alternative to single-use plastic, CAIT said.

CAIT also suggested forming a task force comprising senior officials and stakeholders to draw out a timeline for implementation of the order and to explore plastic alternatives.

“Since traders are the first connect of point for the consumers and the public, they will have to face the consequences though the traders selling the products are acting merely as a component of the supply chain making things available for the public," B.C.Bhartia, national president, CAIT, and Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, at the trade association, said.

Traders, they said, are under compulsion to sell goods in whatever packing they receive from the manufacturer or source of origin.

“Unless and until, companies and manufacturing units are not compelled to stop use of single use plastic either in the production line or in packing of finished goods, there will always be an occasion for usage of single use plastic at the consumer end," they added.

Meanwhile, they also sought availability of alternate carry bags in place of plastic carry bags.

Thousands of industries and production units are engaged in plastic trade providing employment.

“In the event of a stoppage of single use plastic, their business activities will come to an end which may also result in unemployment of all such people working in these companies. In this context, the government should carve out some viable alternatives so that these industries and production houses may divert their business activities to such viable alternatives and employment is not disturbed," they said in their communication.

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