“We have not got any concrete alternative of packaged drinking water during this meeting. Therefore, I have asked all manufacturers to send their suggestions by September 11,” the minister said, adding that these recommendations would be sent to the inter-ministerial panel and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) .
Paswan said the final decision would be taken by the government.
However, he said: “I want to appeal that there is pollution and various diseases because of plastics. Recycling is an alternative but not a permanent solution. Permanent solution is that plastic should be replaced and there should be a ban”.
The ban would not affect employment as the alternative would create jobs, the minister said, while replying to a query on impact of ban on industry and economy.
The minister said the railway ministry which manufactures and sell packaged drinking water under ‘Rail Neer’ brand is also looking into the issue.
Speaking on the sidelines, All India Association of Natural Mineral Water Industry Secretary Behram Mehta said the packaged bottle water industry uses PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is 100 per cent recyclable and even used globally.
He said the industry has achieved 92 per cent recycling and will soon achieve 100 per cent.
Mehta, who is MD of AVA Natural Mineral, said the bottled water industry is worth Rs 30,000 crore. The entire plastic industry is worth Rs 7.5 lakh crore and involves seven crore people.
Mehta stressed that paper, glass and steel are neither an affordable alternatives nor environment friendly.