Notification for phasing out single use plastic issued

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The government on Friday notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, prohibiting identified single use plastic items by 2022.

“Thickness of plastic carry bags is to increase from 50 to 75 microns from September 30, 2021 and to 120 microns with effect from December 31, 2022,” a release from the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change said here.

The Gazette notification for the same that was issued late on Wednesday night also has ‘Guidelines for Extended Producer Responsibility given legal force.’

The Ministry claimed that the development is in line with the call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to phase out single use plastic by 2022.

Therefore, keeping in view the adverse impact of littered plastic on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the Ministry 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, the release said.

India is committed to take action for mitigation of pollution caused by littered single use plastics. In the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019, India had piloted a resolution on addressing single use plastic products pollution, recognizing the urgent need for the global community to focus on this very important issue. The adoption of this resolution at UNEA 4 was a significant step, the release said.

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 the 1st July, 2022.

The items included are: ear buds 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.

In order to stop littering due to light weight plastic carry bags, with effect from September 30, 2021, the thickness of plastic carry bags has been increased from 50 microns to 75 microns and to 120 microns with effect from December 31, 2022. This will also allow reuse of plastic carry bags due to the increase in thickness.

The plastic packaging waste, which is not covered under the phase out of identified single use plastic items, shall be collected and managed in an environmentally sustainable way through the Extended Producer Responsibility of the Producer, Importer and Brand owner (PIBO), as per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. For effective implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility, the Guidelines for Extended Producer Responsibility being brought out have been given legal force through Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.

The waste management infrastructure in the States/UTs is being strengthened through the Swachh Bharat Mission. The following steps have also been taken to strengthen implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 and also to reduce the use of identified single use plastic items: (i) states/UTs have been requested to constitute a Special Task Force for elimination of single use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

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.

The State /UT Governments and Central Ministries/Departments concerned have also been requested to develop a comprehensive action plan for elimination of single use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, and its implementation in a time bound manner.

Directions under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, have been issued to all States/Union Territories inter alia for setting up an institutional mechanism for strengthening enforcement of Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016.

The Government has also been taking measures for awareness generation towards elimination of single use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. A two month long Awareness Campaign of Single Use Plastic 2021 has been organized. The Ministry has also organized pan India essay writing competition on the theme for spreading awareness amongst school students in the country.

To encourage innovation in development of alternatives to identified single use plastic items and digital solutions to plastic waste management, the India Plastic Challenge – Hackathon 2021, has been organized for students of Higher Educational Institutions and startups recognized under the Startup India Initiative.

–IANS

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