Maharashtra environment minister Ramdas Kadam on Saturday lauded the decision of the state government of imposing a ban on the use of plastic in the state.
Speaking to ANI, the minister said that the decision was taken for the betterment of the state.
"It is good that plastic is getting banned in the state. Maharashtra has become the 18th state to ban plastic.. Plastic is a problem for everyone," Kadam told ANI.
He added that the production and use of one-time-use plastic items such as plates, spoons, straws and glasses would be stopped as per the new law.
Kadam further said that the move would not cause any inconvenience to the people in the state.
"We were discussing on the plastic ban for the last eight to nine months. During Gudi Padwa, I had even mentioned what all things would be banned. The court gave a three-month relief to the people. I am very happy that the court took a good decision," he added.
Describing plastic as a "dangerous thing", Kadam explained that the problem was not only in Maharashtra but in the entire country and across the world.
He stressed that in one day, at least 1,200 tons of plastic waste was being generated, causing an adverse effect on crops and water bodies.
Kadam further said that the burning of plastic causes a major health hazard, leading to cancer.
Praising the citizens of the state for undertaking a campaign on plastic ban, he added that before the new legislation came into effect, 80 percent of the population had stopped using plastic bags.
The state minister also underlined that the government was planning to clamp down on those using and manufacturing plastic goods.
"For first time offenders the fine will be Rs. 5,000. For second time offenders, the fine will be Rs. 10,000. Those who violate the ban for the third time will face a fine of Rs. 25,000 along with an imprisonment of three months," Kadam said.
He further said that paper and cloth bags are being made available in the market to replace the plastic ones.
Asked on people not being aware of the plastic ban in the state, Kadam said, "We will put boards at all over airports, railway stations and public places. Those people having plastic bags will dispose it in the dustbin."
On March 23, the Maharashtra government had issued a notification, imposing a ban on the manufacture, use, sale and distribution of all plastic materials like plastic bags, spoons, plates, bottles and thermocol items.
On April 13, the Bombay High Court had called the ban 'reasonable' after seeing a quantity of 1,200 metric tons of waste every day in the state.