In a bid to make India free of single-use plastic by 2022, the Environment Ministry on Friday, March 14, proposed a three-phase ban on such items under the draft Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021.
The rules are supposed to be implemented in three-stages starting this year and completing by the following year. The proposal is drafted keeping in mind the 'high-environmental costs' associated with single-use plastic's management and its adverse effect on marine life, Economic Times reported.
The government has kept a 60-day window for suggestions/opinions, and the final notification will be issued once they assess the feedback, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, RP Gupta said.
The first set of rules proposed an increase in polybags' thickness from 60 microns to 120 microns from September 30 this year. Polybags with less than 60 or 120 microns thickness are banned in the country.
The second stage, starting from January 1, 2022, includes a ban on sales, manufacture, usage, and import and distribution of six categories of single-use plastic, including earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic flags, ice-cream sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration.
The list of banned items will be increased in the third stage, starting from July 1, 2022. This will include - plastic plates, glasses, cutlery (plastic forks, spoons, knife, trays), packaging films from sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic/PVC banners less than 100 micron and stirrers.
Thermoset plastic and Thermoplastic will also fall under the ambit of rules. The rules will be implemented by waste generators, local bodies, Gram Panchayats, manufacturers, importers etc.
Single-use plastic has been defined as 'plastic commodity intended for one-time use before being disposed of or recycled.' Many state governments have imposed a partial or complete ban on single-use plastic items earlier.