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Centre to ban Single-use plastic in India from July 1

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Jun 23, 2022 9:00 PM

Read Time: 3 minute

From July 1, "single-use plastic" will no longer be used, according to the Center. The restriction had been announced in a gazette notification in 2021, and the Ministry for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has now identified a list of things that would be prohibited beginning in July.

The Ministry statement says that starting on July 1, 2022, the manufacturing, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of the following single-use plastic commodities, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, shall be forbidden.

What is single-use plastic?

As the name suggests, it refers to plastic items that are used once and thrown away. The amount of plastic produced and utilised for single-use items, such as packaging for goods, bottles (for shampoo, soap, and cosmetics), polythene bags, face masks, coffee cups, cling film, rubbish bags, and food packaging, is among the greatest.

A 2021 report by one of the Australian philanthropic organisations the Minderoo Foundation said single-use plastics account for one- third of all plastic produced globally, with 98% manufactured from fossil fuels. The majority of plastic that is thrown away, approximately 130 million metric tonnes worldwide in 2019, is single-use plastic, which is "all burned, buried in landfills, or thrown straight into the environment," according to the research.

On the current trajectory of production, it has been projected that single-use plastic could account for 5-10% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The report found that India features in the top 100 countries of single-use plastic waste generation – at rank 94 (the top three being Singapore, Australia and Oman). With domestic production of 11.8 million metric tonnes annually, and import of 2.9 MMT, India’s net generation of single-use plastic waste is 5.6 MMT, and per capita generation is 4 kg.

What are the items being banned?

The items on which the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have announced a ban are earbuds; balloon sticks; candy and ice-cream sticks; cutlery items including plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, trays; sweet boxes; invitation cards; cigarette packs; PVC banners measuring under 100 microns; and polystyrene for decoration.

Beginning in December, polythene bags smaller than 120 microns will also be prohibited. According to ministry representatives, the prohibition is being implemented gradually to give producers time to switch to thicker, easier-to-recycle polythene bags. For bags that are 50 and 75 microns, manufacturers can utilise the same machine; however, for bags that are 120 microns, the equipment will need to be modified.

Why these items?

Ministry officials have said that the choice for the first set of single-use plastic items for the ban was based on “difficulty of collection, and therefore recycling”. These items are chosen as they are difficult to collect, especially since most are either small, or discarded directly into the environment. It then becomes difficult for recycling, unlike the much larger items.

How will the ban be enforced?

The ban will be monitored by the CPCB from the Centre, and by the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) that will report to the Centre regularly.

Those found violating the ban can be penalised under the Environment Protection Act 1986 – which allows for imprisonment up to 5 years, or a penalty up to Rs 1 lakh, or both. Violators can also be asked to pay Environmental Damage Compensation by the SPCB. In addition, there are municipal laws on plastic waste, with their own penal codes.

Also Read: Saree made of Recycled Plastics to mark Queen's Platinum Jubilee

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