Hoardings and banners are favourite with political figures, campaigns, advertising and promotion in Bengaluru city. The High Court, in an order, said that prima facie, the ban on plastic includes ban on the manufacture, supply and sale of such banners, buntings and flex. The court, back in 2016, had upheld the validity on the notification by the state government banning manufacture and sale of plastic bags and other products.
Recently, the BBMP Commissioner confirmed that all flex printing units in the city will have to shut shop, and it was already working on doing this. BBMP has already issued notices to flex manufacturers in the city. The Chief N Manjunatha Prasad says that they have already shut down many flex units as the material used in flex is hazardous to the environment. The decision also affects other hoardings manufacturing units in the city.
It is believed about 3 lakh people are employed in this industry. While the authorities believe that plastic including flex is responsible for clogging of storm water drains in the city, industry people say flex doesn’t fall under the ban which is supposed to target materials less than 40 microns. The product is reused as rain protection as well as in agriculture.
Besides, the ban will severely hit the signage and advertising industry that works with intensive investment of crores for machine and set-up. Industry, through its representative associations, is bringing the real concerns of the people affected from the ban to the notice of concerned authorities and government. It is largely believed that a blanket ban on all such companies would take away the livelihood of lakhs of people.
Earlier, the NGT had asked the State Government whether flex can be exempted if the used flex materials in the State be undertaken to be recycled and upon assurance that no flex will be left uncollected and thrown out after use. The members of the industry are of the view that flex can’t be grouped with other plastic products as it’s not used in such a huge scale as plastic bags etc. and is recyclable.
A flex manufacturer received orders to shut shop from BBMP in December 2017. The manufacturer had appealed against the direction in the High Court.