The government may not be able to rescue the inflation-hit plastic industry, but researchers at Pantnagar University have lent a ray of hope to it. The environment ministry had recently asked the plastic manufacturers to express their views as to why should the production of plastic packets smaller than the size of 18’ by 12’ not be banned? The notice has raised uproar in the plastic industry as according to manufacturers, 90 per cent of plastic consumption is done in sizes smaller than the proposed ban.
According to All India Plastic Manufacturers’ Association vice president (North zone), R K Aggrawal, the proposed curb on use of plastic pouches smaller than the aforesaid size would effectively mean closing down of thousands of Small Scale Industry (SSI) units across the country. “Most of the SSI units operate on small margins and would hardly be able to afford the renovation for complying with the new norms,” he added.
The bio-technology department of Pantnagar University has found a solution to each of their problems. The department has discovered a technology to biologically decompose the otherwise non-biodegradable plastics. According to department professors and researchers Rita Goel and M G H Zaidi, the department had successfully tested the process of decomposing the plastics within one week by using a culture of over 78 various microbes. “The development once accredited by the concerned committees, is expected to go a long way in enhancing the environmental acceptability of plastics in years to come. We are in process of obtaining the patent for the newly discovered technique,” added Zaidi.