Manufacturing, importing, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities will be prohibited with effect from Ist July 2022, the Environment Ministry has announced.
Releasing a draft gazette notification on Thursday, 12th August, the Ministry, for the first time, listed out the items that would fall under its range. These include earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic flags, plastic sticks for balloons, ice-cream sticks, candy sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, cups, plates, glasses, cutlery, trays, straw, packing or wrapping films around sweet boxes, cigarette packets, invitation cards, stirrers, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns. However, the provisions will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic.
Thickness Of Polythene Bags Increased
Further, the thickness of plastic carry bags has been increased from fifty microns to seventy-five microns, which will be effective from 30th September this year, whereas polythene bags under 120 microns will be banned from 31st December 2022. The move will allow the reuse of plastic carry due to increased thickness.
"Keeping in view the adverse impacts of littered plastic on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, which prohibits identified single-use plastic items which have low utility and high littering potential by 2022," says the notification.
An official from the Ministry told The Indian Express that the reason behind the rules was the massive cost of collection as well as the high environmental cost. However, the economic cost is less. He added that the major issue was that most plastic commodities were not being collected and recycled.
Other Plastic Commodities To Be Banned
Other than the items listed in the notification, the central government has given the industry ten years to ban other plastic commodities in the future.
The ban will be monitored by the Central Pollution Control Board, along with state pollution bodies. Violations will also be identified and penalties imposed under the Environmental Protection Act.
The government has also requested the states, Union Territories, concerned Central Ministries, and departments to develop a comprehensive action plan for eliminating single-use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, in a time-bound manner.
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