To make India plastic-free by next year and to deal with the threat of huge uncollected plastic waste across the country, the center announced on Thursday a ban on the use of single-use plastic items from July 1, 2020 and an increased thickness of polyethylene bags from 50 to 120 microns.
However, the thickness clause will be implemented in two phases from September 30th.
Currently, plastic bags less than 50 microns are banned in the country. However, under the new rules, from September 30th, polyethylene bags with a thickness of less than 75 microns and from September 31st
The Ministry of Environment’s notice states that the manufacture, import, storage, distribution, sale and use of single-use plastics, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, will be banned with effect from July 1, 2022.
Such disposable plastic articles include ear plugs with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, styrofoam for decoration; Plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, wrapping or packaging films around candy boxes, invitation cards and cigarette boxes, plastic or banners smaller than 100 micrometers and stirrers.
The staggering plan for the thickness clause has been approved so that it does not affect small businesses and traders. The ministry announced the draft in March. The final decision was communicated on August 12, 2021 after considering stakeholder views on the draft.
In the notification, single-use plastics were also defined for the first time and those items that were to be prohibited were identified in stages. It says: “Disposable plastic article” refers to a plastic article that is intended to be used once for the same purpose before being disposed of or recycled.
Increasing the thickness of tote bags made from virgin or recycled plastic will greatly improve the collection and recycling of used tote bags. The move is gaining in importance as 40% of all plastic waste in the country is currently not collected every day.
The uncollected plastic waste causes asphyxiation of drainage and river systems, soil and water pollution, littering of the marine ecosystem, ingestion by stray animals and outdoor burns, all of which have negative effects on human health and the environment.
As part of the notification, the municipal authorities and panchayats are responsible for setting up and coordinating the waste management system as well as for carrying out the associated functions such as separation, collection, storage, transport, processing and disposal of plastic waste. (Agencies)
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Center announces ban on single-use plastic items from July 1, 2022