In a recent development, the Centre has imposed a ban on certain single-use plastics in order to reduce plastic waste, which goes into effect today. Single-use plastics are products that are discarded after only one use and do not go through the recycling process. They significantly contribute to plastic pollution. The negative effects and threats that littered single-use plastic products pose to both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are widely acknowledged.
Among the prohibited items are:
- Earbuds with plastic sticks
- Plastic sticks for balloons
- Plastic flags
- Candy sticks
- Ice-cream sticks
- Polystyrene i.e. thermocol for decoration
- Plates, cups, glasses
- Cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays
- Wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes
- Invitation cards
- Cigarette packets
- Plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns and stirrers
The Central Pollution Control Board has established a National Control Room to monitor the ban’s implementation, in addition to directing state boards to conduct extensive public awareness campaigns, including social media campaigns and interactive meetings with industries, colleges, schools, and other institutions.
To guarantee that the prohibition is adequately implemented, state boards have been directed to increase inspections of industrial and commercial organisations. The Environment Ministry published the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, on August 12, 2021, in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to phase out single-use plastics by 2022.
Carrying forth the spirit of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsava’ — the 75th year of independence — the government is taking a decisive effort to reduce pollution caused by scattered and mismanaged plastic garbage. On the demand side, e-commerce corporations, the largest users of single-use plastics, and plastic raw material producers have been directed to phase out such goods.
Several industry players have previously claimed that India lacked the capacity to produce alternatives to the prohibited products. Capacity-building workshops are being conducted for industrial units to give them technical help for manufacturing alternatives to banned single-use plastic goods, with the participation of several government authorities. Provisions have also been made to assist numerous businesses in shifting away from the banned single-use plastics.
Previously, the government prohibited the manufacturing, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of plastic carry bags with a thickness of fewer than 75 microns beginning September 30, 2021, and with a thickness of less than 120 microns beginning December 31, 2022.