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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 August 2005, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Indian state bans plastic bag use
plastic - pollution
Flooding was worsened by bags clogging drains, officials said
The government in the western Indian state of Maharashtra has banned the sale and use of plastic bags.

"Mumbai and various other areas have suffered from the misuse of plastic bags," state chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said in Mumbai.

"These tend to choke the drainage and sewage systems."

Mr Deshmukh said plastic bags had added to the problems of the recent floods across the state, which claimed more than 1,000 lives.

Manufacturing continues

"This is the general consensus and the situation will not improve until we stop using plastic bags," Mr Deshmukh said.

Although the sale of bags would be banned, manufacturing would be allowed as companies could sell them in other parts of the country, he said.

Mr Deshmukh also said the government had set a timeframe of 30 days to deal with objections and suggestions from people on the issue, after which the cabinet would take a final decision.

The floods that ravaged the state in July killed at least 1,100 people and more than 300 others died due to waterborne diseases that broke out after the disaster.

The damage to property runs into millions of dollars.

The state government has asked for a relief package of $2.8bn from the federal government.

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