Mumbai:Manufacturing, import and sale of plastic with below 50 microns thickness and products made from Thermocol will be banned in the state from Sunday. Milk dairies and manufacturers of packaged drinking water will have to set up recycling plants for plastic pouches and bottles. After announcing a ban on several plastic items in the state from March 18, Maharashtra Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam on Friday said manufacturers of these goods will get three to four months of breathing period.

Speaking to reporters, Kadam said an empowered committee headed by him will examine the need to amend the rules in future. Another committee will be set at the level of Divisional Commissioners to implement the ban at the district level, he said. As to milk pouches, Kadam said initially the consumer will have to pay an additional 50 paise to the retailer while buying them. Upon returning the empty pouch, 50 paise will be refunded and the pouch will be sent to the manufacturer for recycling.

“In the case of plastic water bottles, the retailer will refund Rs 1 to the consumer after he or she returns the bottle,” the minister said. He added that the government will initially give three to four months’ breathing time to the manufacturers so that they find alternatives to banned products.

Fine for violating the ban will be Rs 5,000 for the first offence, Rs 10,000 for the second and Rs 25,000 for the third offence or a three-month jail term or both. Earlier, Kadam announced in the Assembly that the government has decided to ban the use of plastic from Gudi Padwa, the Maharashtrian New Year, which is on March 18.