Struggling to run his business properly post the sudden plastic ban by Maharahstra Government, Naresh Tolani, a depressed 51-year-old plastic trader from Nagpur, committed suicide on July 29, by jumping in the Gandhisagar Lake. Naresh left behind a suicide note, in which he mentioned that his business had gone for a toss post the plastic ban. The suicide note read: ‘Mai plastic bandi ki wajah se tang aa gaya hoon. Meri jaan ka zimmedar mai swayam hu.’
On July 29, Naresh left his house in the wee hours leaving behind a suicide note. As soon as the suicide note was found by Naresh’s 16-year-old daughter Leena early in the morning, his wife Divya asked their 20-year-old son Sumit to go and look for Naresh. Sumit, on Divya’s suggestion, along with his uncle Kamal Tolani (Naresh’s elder brother) immediately started checking all the lakes in the city. As soon as Sumit reached Gandhisagar Lake, he found his father’s bike. Sumit was then informed by a morning walker that he had seen a man taking a plunge in the lake. Without wasting any time, Sumit, himself jumped in the lake to look for his father. After Kamal arrived with the police, lifeguards had to first pull Sumit out of the lake. Thereafter, Naresh’s found was found by the police.
Speaking to Nation Next, Naresh’s younger brother Mukesh Tolani said, “My brother was the only bread earner of his family. His children are too young and are still studying. He should not have done this. He was in a lot of stress because of the sudden ban on plastic. I requested him to start some another business or join me in my bakery business. But it was very difficult for him as he had been in the plastic business for the last 30 years. He didn’t have any knowledge about any other business. We tried really hard to cheer him up, but unfortunately we could not save him.”
Slamming the Maharahstra Government’s sudden decision of banning plastic, Sanjay Agrawal (Hon Secretary, Nag Vidarbha Chamber of Commerce) told Nation Next: “It’s a really sad and unfortunate incident. We are a welfare state and it is the government’s duty to work for the welfare of people. Agreed, that its government’s job is to keep in mind the environmental hazards, but the way the government banned plastic all of a sudden, was wrong. In Asia, plastic is consumed 40 kgs per capita in a year. In western countries, 40 kgs of plastic is consumed by a single person. Plastic in western countries is collected and recycled properly. Our government failed in collecting and recycling plastic so they banned it without thinking about the effect it would have on industries and traders.”