Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan has welcomed the Tamil Nadu government's initiative to combat the plastic menace. (The State Government has banned use of plastic bags below 60 microns).

Talking to presspersons on the sidelines of an international conference on mangroves and coastal area management here on Sunday, she described Chief Minister Jayalalithaa undertaking an aerial survey in this regard as a “welcome approach”.

She promised to extend her ministry's co-operation to the State government in this endeavour.

Asked whether the Centre had any plans of banning plastic materials of a certain category on the lines of the State government's action, she said, ‘This requires a detailed study.”

She said her first mission on taking over the Ministry was to dispel the feeling that protection to environment was a stumbling block to growth.

“There is no conflict .There can be no growth without protecting the environment. Without sustainable environment there cannot be any holistic development.”

Referring to the oft-repeated criticism of delay in granting eco-clearance to projects, she said 71 per cent of the projects (less than five hectares) came under the jurisdiction of the State governments.

As much as 17 per cent of the projects came under the jurisdiction of the Regional Office of her Ministry. Only nine per cent came directly under her Ministry and all the projects had been cleared within the mandatory period of one year. “There is absolutely no delay on our part”, she contended.

Keywords: plastic ban