The Kerala government Saturday imposed a statewide ban on all plastic materials under 30 microns in thickness. Local self-government institutions have been given the responsibility to seize all plastic carry bags below 30 microns from shops.
"Till Sep 4, all shopkeepers would be let off with a warning and after that a fine of Rs.5,000 would be levied if they continue to use plastic bags. If it is repeated, a fine of Rs.25,000 including a six month sentence would be awarded. Apart from that, the shop's licence also would be cancelled," an official said.
Hotels and restaurants have also been informed that henceforth no food material should be packed in plastic.
"This is going to affect ordinary restaurants and an alternative packing material would be costly. Therefore, a price hike is on the cards," said K. Kuriakose, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association here.
The decision follows an all-party meeting, which was held a few months back, after the state came under the grip of viral diseases.
Plastic bags were identified as a reason for the outbreak of mosquito borne diseases as they had become breeding grounds for the mosquitoes.
Meanwhile, civic bodies have already sent out instructions to organisers of public functions not to use plastic tumblers to serve water or juice.
Studies have found out that on an average, a household uses around three to five plastic carry bags a day.