End in sight to single-use plastic items

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on August 13, 2021

The plastic waste generated in India in 2018-19 was more than 3.3 million tonnes.   -  The Hindu

Environment Ministry amends Rules to usher in a ban from July 2022

At long last, an end may be in sight for the plastic menace in the country. At least partly. From July 2022, many common use-and-throw plastic products such as straws, stirrers, glasses and cutlery, made from single-use plastic will cease to be circulation with the government coming out with strict rules to prohibit their manufacture and use.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on Thursday amended the Plastic Waste Management Rules and declared that no single-use plastic items with high littering potential will be in use from July 1, 2022.

Items set to go

According to a Central Pollution Control Board report, the plastic waste generated in India in 2018-19 was more than 3.3 million tonnes.

Consequently, several plastic items such as plates, trays, cups, plastic films used for wrapping sweet boxes and cigarettes and banners made with PVC less than 100 micro thickness will be banned. The same fate awaits plastic sticks used in ear buds, balloon holders, ice-cream and candy sticks, plastic flags, and polystyrene used in decorations.

Action on carry-bags

The action on plastic carry-bags, on the other hand, will be initiated earlier than that. Though they would not be totally banned, the government has come up with more stringent thickness conditions to stop the littering of light weight plastic carry-bags. Beyond September 30, plastic carry-bags will have to be at least of 75 micron thickness and from December 31 next year 120 microns.

Besides, management of all other plastic packaging waste, not covered under the phase out, will be the responsibility of producers, importers and brand owners under the Extended Producer Responsibility of the Producer, Importer and Brand Owner (PIBO), as ascribed in the Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016. This has been made legally binding in the just-notified Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.

Pollution due to single-use plastic items has become an important environmental challenge confronting all countries, the Ministry statement said.

Comprehensive plan

It said India, which piloted a resolution on addressing single-use plastic products pollution at the fourth UN Environment Assembly in 2019, is committed to mitigating the pollution caused by littered single-use plastics.

The Ministry requested States and Union Territories as well as Central ministries and departments to develop a comprehensive action plan for elimination of single-use plastics and set up institutional mechanisms to strengthen enforcement of the plastic waste management rules in the country.

Published on August 13, 2021

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