Recyclable plastic which was taxed 5.5 per cent before, has now been bracketed in the 18 per cent GST. As a result, plastic recyclers have drastically slashed the price of waste plastic ~ as for example the price of empty milk packets has suffered a 50 per cent reduction. This has sharply reduced the income of poor rag pickers. It can have an adverse effect on the rate of recycling and thus on the environment.
We must not forget that it is mainly because of more than four million of our brothers and sisters who are engaged in rag picking, India has achieved the highest PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) recycling rates (90 per cent) in the world! Recycling is undoubtedly the best way to manage waste plastic menace.
So recyclable plastic needs to be put in five per cent GST category to protect poor rag pickers and our environment as well. Moreover, adult rag pickers should be made stakeholders in garbage recycling. It will help achieve 100 per cent PET recycling and end the marginalization of the rag pickers who are, as it were, the silent soldiers against pollution.
Sujit De, Kolkata