New Delhi [India], Sep 9 (ANI): Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Monday met key stakeholders from plastic bottle industry and senior government officials to find a suitable alternative to single-use plastic.
The minister said recycling was not a permanent solution and plastic should be banned and replaced.
During the meeting, various alternatives to plastics were discussed including glass, metal, paper and natural polymers.
According to an official release, the minister said even paper bottle is not an alternative as some plastic is mixed in that too.
The minister asked manufacturers of packaged drinking water to come up with alternative packaging solutions in the next three days and also asked all manufacturers to send their suggestions by September 11.
Paswan also said there is a need to find an alternative which is affordable and reliable.
The minister said that plastic damages environment and has an adverse impact on the health of human beings as well as animals.
Paswan informed that an inter-ministerial committee, under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary, has been formed to look into the issue of banning single-use plastic either all at once or in a phased manner.
The suggestions received by the ministry would be sent to the inter-ministerial panel and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) after which the final decision would be taken by the government.
Later talking to the media, Paswan said that the ban would not affect employment as the 'alternative to plastic' would create jobs.
Railway Ministry, which manufactures and sells packaged drinking water, under 'Rail Neer' brand is also looking for alternatives including inserting polymers to make the bottle biodegradable.
Paswan said plastic material ends up in cows' stomach, reaches beaches in Mumbai and chokes rivers including the Yamuna.
During the meeting, the status on various plastic materials allowed for packing of drinking water at national and international levels were discussed.
An official release said the participants agreed that there is a need for innovation in recycling and of finding new alternatives to develop packing materials which were safe while being friendly to the environment.
Earlier, Senior Economic adviser from the ministry explained the dangers associated with plastics.
He said that micro-plastics contaminate the soil and water resources, influence animal tissues and also become an active breeding ground for mosquitos.
The need of the hour, he said, is to find suitable alternatives to plastic.
The meeting was attended by officials from ministries of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Environment and Forest, Jal Shakti, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Railways, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), FSSAI, CIPET, CSIR apart from private manufacturers such as Bisleri, Kinley and Pepsi Co. (ANI)