From earbuds to wrapping on sweet boxes, Centre plans to phase out single-use plastic

With the intention to phase out single-use plastic by 2022 and save the planet from the adverse impacts of littered plastic on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, has notified the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Amendment Rules, 2021

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  13 Aug 2021 11:49 AM GMT
From earbuds to wrapping on sweet boxes, Centre plans to phase out single-use plastic

Hyderabad: With the intention to phase out single-use plastic by 2022 and save the planet from the adverse impacts of littered plastic on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, has notified the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Amendment Rules, 2021, which prohibits identified single-use plastic items that have low utility and high littering potential.

The prohibition, that will come to effect from 1 July 2022, extends to the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene. This includes commodities such as 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, cigarette packets, and plastic or PVC banners (less than 100 microns), among others.

The plastic packaging waste, leftover from the phase-out process shall be collected and managed in an environmentally sustainable way through the Extended Producer Responsibility of the Producer, Importer and Brand owner (PIBO) guidelines, as per the PWM Rules, 2016.

India takes lead in fighting plastic

The ministry said that the pollution due to single-use plastic items has become an important environmental challenge confronting all countries. India is committed to taking action for the mitigation of pollution caused by single-use plastics.

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

Lightweight plastic carry bags will be phased out with effect from 30 September this year. The thickness of plastic carry bags will be increased from 50 microns to 75 microns and to 120 microns with effect from 31 December 2022. The increase in thickness will allow the reuse of plastic.

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 the implementation of PWM Rules, 2016. The States/UTs have been requested to constitute a special taskforce for the elimination of single-use plastics. A national-level taskforce has also been constituted by the ministry for taking coordinated efforts to eliminate identified single-use plastic items.

The State/UT governments and concerned central ministries/departments have also been requested to develop a comprehensive action plan for the elimination of single-use plastics and the effective implementation of PWM Rules, 2016 in a time-bound manner. Directions under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, have been issued to all States/UTs for setting up institutional mechanisms for strengthening enforcement of PWM Rules, 2016.

A two-month-long awareness campaign on single-use plastic 2021 has been organized which included a pan-India essay writing competition for spreading awareness among students in the country.

To encourage innovation in the development of alternatives to 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.

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