Bengaluru: Plastic milk pouches on way out?

BENGALURU: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is in talks with Nandini, the largest milk supplier in the state, to find an alternative to packing milk in plastic pouches. These pouches, which are thrown or burnt, choke drains and have become a serious environmental concern. 

Under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, the state government in 2016 banned the use and manufacturing of plastic, but it remains only on paper. 

"Use of all types of plastic bags is banned and the BBMP is in talks with the Karnataka Milk Federation to find an alternative to pouches. We are serious about the enforcement of the plastic ban, since it leads to clogging of drains. A better alternative is needed," Mayor Sampath Raj said. Of over 4,000 MT of solid waste produced in city every day, 350-400 MT is plastic. 

In 2011, plastic bags less than 40 microns in thickness were banned, but in May 2016, the state government put a blanket ban on sale and manufacture of plastic barring a few products.

City-based environmentalists gave a thumbs-up to the BBMP's decision, as plastic bags clog storm water drains and emit ammonia when burnt, worsening the air quality. "The alternative to plastic to pack milk can be glass bottles," said Mahesh Kashyap, consultant, Indian Institute of Science.

The BBMP had exempted the use of plastic bags for packaging of dairy products in its earlier notification of 2016. Recently, the Maharashtra government faced a backlash from Maharshtra dairy after it imposed a complete ban of pouches.

Later, the government agreed to exempt dairy products, but enforced its recycling.

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