Milk consumers in Maharashtra can have a sigh of relief as the government has agreed to take a compassionate view and allow the use of plastic pouches for packaging of milk until further notice.
The state environment minister Ramdas Kadam called a meeting with the dairies representatives of Maharashtra and dairy development minister and officials from the environment department on Tuesday to find a solution to the issue. Maharashtra’s dairy sector was warned to suspend the sale of milk in plastic pouches from December 15.
The agenda of the meeting was to clear all the misunderstanding about the milk pouch packaging issue. In the meeting, Kadam made it clear that the department has not banned plastic manufacturers from supplying plastic film for packaging of milk and therefore the dairy sector should continue to supply milk in pouches as before.
He also added that milk suppliers have only been told to ensure a proper ‘buyback’ scheme of used pouches, which they have not yet done. He said that milk pouches must have a deposit of 50 paise to Rs 1 each, and once empty, they have to be returned by customers for recycling in lieu of the deposit.
As per the data on an average, around 85 lakh litres of milk is sold through plastic pouches on a daily basis.
Prakash Kutwal, secretary, Milk Producers’ and Processors’ Welfare Association, said the minister displayed a very cooperative attitude and was sympathetic to the concerns of the dairy sector.