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Plastics sacks units boom in West Bengal  where             
Plastic bags under attack around the world



 Plastics sacks units boom West Bengal
  Kolkata, February 21, 2008: The plastic woven sacks industry in West Bengal had grown significantly in the last decade despite the restrictions imposed by the Jute Packaging Materials Order (JPMO) that mandated a cent per cent use of jute bags for packaging of food grains and sugar. 
  The annual installed capacity was around 8,50,000 tonnes in about 1000 units across the country with an annual polymer consumption of 800000 tonnes. In comparison, West Bengal had grown from a mere 500 tonnes of polymer consumption per month in 1997-98 to 10,000 tonnes per month now. 
 The number of units had grown from two units in 1998 to around 50 units now including dependent units, claimed K D Agarwal, president, All India Flat Tape Manufacturers' Association (AIFTM). The installed capacity in the state was 13,000 tonnes per month, he added. 
  AIFTM was gearing up to resume its fight for relaxing the compulsory packaging of sugar and food grains in jute bags thereby allowing polymer packaging for the same. The relaxation of the JPMO could open up further opportunities for PP & HDPE products industry, Agarwal said. 
  JPMO was earlier relaxed to allow the packaging of cement and fertilisers in plastic bags, said K D Agarwal. The Standing Advisory Committee on Jute, ministry of textiles, had decided to phase out the packaging norms to include plastic material. 
  It had earlier recommended a 20 per cent phase out during the period July 2007 to June 2008, informed Agarwal. However, in August last year the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) extended compulsory packing of food grains and sugar in bags made of jute for another year till June 30, 2008. 
  In case of disruption in jute supplies, the Textile Ministry will be empowered to authorise user agencies to relax these provisions up to a maximum of 20 per cent for sugar and food grains, the CCEA order had 
said. AITMF was hopeful that the 100 per cent packaging norm could be relaxed this year, said Agarwal. 
  Plastic woven sacks come for a price that is 50 per cent less compared to jute bags, he added. The woven sacks industry had an annual turnover of Rs 6500 crore, and annual exports around Rs 400 crore.
 Source: Business Standard
Plastic bags under attack around the world 
April 21. 2007: Plastic bags have been under attack in different parts of the world for the last seven years or so. In countries like South Africa, the bags are so pervasive in the landscape, stuck to fences and clinging to tree branches that they are reportedly referred to as the "national flower."
Ireland - The country created what has been dubbed the PlasTax on plastic bags, one of the first in the world. The BBC reported that on March 4, 2002 the Republic of Ireland introduced a 15 cent levy on every plastic shopping bag. Initially the tax led to people cutting down on plastic bags by 95% and using reusable bags. The money gathered by the levy was used to raise money for environmental initiatives.
Bangladesh - Also in March 2002, Bangladesh banned polyethylene bags in the capital, Dhaka, after they were suspected as the main culprit during the 1988 and 1998 floods that submerged two-thirds of the country. The discarded bags were thought to have choked the drainage system. Plans are to extend the ban nationwide. The ban has led to a revival of the jute bag industry and other sustainable and biodegradable alternatives. Jute grows naturally in Bangladesh and requires less energy for processing than the plastic bags.
United States - Last month San Francisco became the first city to ban a certain kind of plastic shopping bag. Under the legislation, beginning in six months large supermarkets will not be allowed to offer plastic bags made from petroleum products. Within the year, large chain drugstore retailers will have to find an alternate also.
Sources: The BBC, Reuters


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