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Need more time to move on from PVC to cloth, say banner makers in Ongole

The civic authorities gear up to enforce the ban on plastic flex banners from January 26; penalties could go up to ₹40,000, warns officials

January 23, 2023 03:22 am | Updated January 26, 2023 10:13 am IST - ONGOLE

As Andhra Pradesh Government gears up to enforce the ban plastic flex banners from January 26, the banner makers plead for more time to switch over to cloth banners in view of the high cost of the machinery.

As Andhra Pradesh Government gears up to enforce the ban plastic flex banners from January 26, the banner makers plead for more time to switch over to cloth banners in view of the high cost of the machinery. | Photo Credit: Kommuri Srinivas

While the civic authorities gear up to enforce the ban on plastic flex banners from January 26, city’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) banner makers plead for more time to switch over to biodegradable advertisement materials.

On the other hand, Ongole Municipal Corporation Commissioner M. Venkateswara Rao warns of hefty fines starting from ₹5,000 for using PVC. The penalties could go up to ₹40,000 on those printing, transporting and displaying any type of plastic flex banners, he told The Hindu.

Export and import of the PVC flex banner material also will not be allowed from Thursday as per the ban imposed following a suggestion from the Global Alliance for Sustainable Planet. Only the banners and publicity material made of recyclable materials like cloth will be permitted., he says.

The ban was originally scheduled to come into force on November 1, 2022. But it was deferred till January 26 to give time for the plastic flex banner makers to move to environment-friendly cloth banners and no more time will be given now, he stated.

A fine at the rate of ₹100 per sq. ft will be imposed on units manufacturing or possessing plastic flex banners as they pose a severe threat to the environment and public health. The same will be seized and sent for scientific disposal at the cost of violators who will be prosecuted under the Environment Protection Act, adds the Commissioner who will act in tandem with the revenue, police, transport and GST authorities for effectively enforce the ban.

Meanwhile, the plastic flex banner makers plead for more time to switch over to cloth banners in view of the ‘‘high cost’‘ of the machinery at a time when they are finding it difficult to break even. ‘‘We have still not recovered from the losses incurred during the pandemic and none of us can afford to import new machinery,’, say a group of plastic flex banner makers.

The State Government should arrange for soft loans from banks as lakhs of workers depend on the sector for a living. They have to spend an additional ₹20 lakh for installing machines to make cloth banners and no further loan is coming from financial institutions without additional collateral security, says a Plastic Flex banner-makers Association functionary G. Kesava.

‘‘We are not having enough orders on hand now. We are unsure of public patronage to cloth banners which are three times more costlier’‘, Yuva Flex-maker director K. Lakshmaiah.

While plastic flex banners cost between ₹8 and ₹12 per foot, cloth banners will cost over ₹35 per foot. A majority of the people may do away with banners altogether, fears banner maker Sk. Rehman who wants the Government to explore ways to recycle PVC material.

We are willing to use plastic which is above 300 or 400 microns and is easily recyclable, adds B.G. Raja of an advertisement firm here.

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