The Environment Ministry released a draft gazette notification announcing the ban on single-use plastic.
The ban will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic.
The Environment Ministry released a draft gazette notification announcing the ban on single-use plastic. Single-use plastic will be banned from July 2022. A list has also been released specifying the items that come under the ban. This is the first time that the government has enlisted items that fall under its purview. From ear buds to ice-cream sticks to cutlery, all the single use plastic things will completely banned from July 2022.
“The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of… single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene commodities shall be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022,” says the Ministry notification on the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.
Plastic bags with thickness less than 50 microns are already banned. The Ministry has chalked out the ban in a phased manner. From 30th September, plastic bags under 75 microns will not be allowed, and from December next year plastic bags under 120 microns will not be allowed.
“The reasoning behind the rules that we have come out with is that we have eliminated the plastic for which the cost of collection was huge as well as having a high environmental cost on one hand, but the economic cost is little,” said a Ministry official.
Environmental experts found that rag-pickers find that thicker plastic bags have higher value than the thinner ones. Thicker bags are easily handled as waste and have higher recyclability. The items that will be banned are plastic flags, ear-buds with plastic sticks, ice-cream sticks, candy sticks, thermocol used for decoration, plastic sticks used in balloons, plastic plates, cups, glasses, spoons, forks, knives, straws used for juices and soft drinks, stirrers, wrapping films used in cigarette packs, sweets boxes, invitation cards, plastic banners etc. The ban will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic.
Alternatives for plastic cutlery are available in the market and the government will make sure that these alternatives are promoted. The Central Pollution Control Board will monitor the ban along with state pollution bodies. It will identify the violations and impose penalties under the Environment Protection Act.
(The waste management infrastructure in the States/UTs is being strengthened through the Swachh Bharat Mission. A National Level Taskforce has also been constituted by the Ministry for taking coordinated efforts to eliminate identified single use plastic items and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.)