In its attempt to make India single-use plastic-free, the Centre has announced a ban over the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of identified single-use plastic (SUP) items from July 1, 2022, under the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.
Moreover, there is an instruction to increase the thickness of polythene bags from 50 microns to 12 microns from September 30, 2021, and 120 microns from December 31, 2022.
This ban would also help polythene bags to be reutilized, reported Press Trust of India.
The Centre has instructed that non-woven plastic carry bags be made above 60 grams per square meter (GSM). The notification, which was released on August 12, 2021, informed, “The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of following single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities shall be prohibited with effect from July 1, 2022 — earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration; plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays; wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced as a pledge of World Environment Day in 2018 that India will become single-use plastic-free by 2022.
The Guardian called it the “most ambitious yet of the global actions to combat plastic pollution that is taking place in 60 nations around the world.”
“The choices that we make today will define our collective future. The choices may not be easy. But through awareness, technology, and a genuine global partnership, I am sure we can make the right choices.
Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live,” PM Modi said.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) updated with the status update of the pledge made in 2018 in the Lok Sabha by February 12, 2021.
The Ministry answered that they had followed gradual steps to fulfill the complete ban on single-use plastic in 2022. This new development in Plastic Waste Management Rules 2021 could be perceived as a follow-up response.
However, the provisions will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic, the notification said.
The notification for the first time defined what does single-use plastic mean and what are the items that come under it and banning its use entirely.
It informs “single-use plastic commodity” means an item to be used once for the same purpose before sending it for disposal or recycle.
An increase in the thickness of carrying bags made of virgin or recycled plastic will gradually improve the collection and recycling of user carrier bags. Currently, 40% of total plastic garbage lies uncollected asserted Times of India.
Plastic packaging waste that does not come under the identified single-use plastic items will be collected and handled in an “environmentally sustainable way” by means of the extended producer responsibility (EPR) of the producers, importers, and brand owners, as per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
Although EPR is a significant part of the Plastics Waste Management Rules, 2016 but the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021, would keep on issuing guidelines from time to time to monitor its implementation, highlighted a report of the Hindustan Times.
This means there will be legal backing for EPR,” said a senior environment ministry official.