The Maharashtra Environment Department is considering imposing a ban on chemical fertilisers in the state, close on the heels of its ban on plastic.

Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam on Wednesday said the use of chemical fertilisers is leading to an increase in toxic materials in food, PTI reported. He was speaking at an event in Mumbai to mark World Environment Day.

“Proportion of toxic materials in food is increasing due to the use of chemical fertilisers,” Kadam said, adding that people are suffering from “life-threatening diseases” because of this. “Therefore, the environment department is seriously considering banning chemical fertilisers, after banning plastic.”

The minister added that farmers are facing the danger of drought because the proportion of carbon dioxide in the air has increased, leading to an increase in temperatures.

Explaining the state’s decision to ban plastics from March 18 this year, Kadam said, “The entire world has decided to ban plastic. People have also become aware of the consequences of use of plastic, and on their own they have stopped using polythene bags and started using cloth and paper bags.”

He added: “If the message that one should not use plastic carry bags but use only cloth bags can be spread from house to house, then a ban on chemical fertilisers can be implemented [effectively] as well.”

Officials in the Environment Department, however, said the ministry does not have the power to impose a ban on chemical fertilisers. “Others like the Agriculture Department and Industries Department are involved and a decision can be taken only after detailed deliberations,” an officer told The Hindu.