Centre introduces new norms for plastic waste disposal

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018



Rural areas too fall under rule; thickness of bags increased

In an effort to curb excessive plastic wastes and ensure proper management of the same, the Union government has notified the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Of the slew of measures under this law, the government has increased the minimum thickness of plastic bags, expanded the area of applicability of these rules to rural areas and introduced polluter pays principle.

Raising the thickness

While announcing these measures, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that every day about 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated out of which only 9,000 tonnes are collected and processed, leaving behind 6,000 tonnes of plastic waste. Being non-biodegradable, this poses a serious environmental threat.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change announced these measures on Friday, including the decision to increase the minimum thickness of plastic carry bags from 40 microns to 50 microns as this is likely to increase production cost and discourage rampant distribution of plastic bags.

Production cost may rise

The earlier Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, will not be applicable now.

“Increasing the thickness of plastic carry bags from 40 to 50 micron and stipulation of 50 micron thickness for plastic sheets is likely to increase the cost by about 20 per cent. Hence, the tendency to provide free carry bags will come down and collection by the waste-pickers also will increase to some extent,” the Ministry said.

The production of non-recyclable, multi-layered plastic will be phased out in two years, the Ministry has said.

Collecting the waste

Further, the Ministry announced that producers, importers and brand owners who introduce plastic carry bags, multi-layered plastic sachet, pouches or packaging will need to set up a system for collecting back the plastic waste.

Even street vendors and small retailers who provide plastic bags to customers for carrying wares, would now need to register with their local bodies and only then can they sell plastic bags instead of giving them out free of cost.

The government is also looking at using plastic waste in construction of roads.

Published on March 20, 2016

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