Starting from 1 July 2022, a nationwide ban on certain single-use plastic (SUP) items has been implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
The Ministry has asked the State governments to initiate an enforcement campaign and also to close down those units engaging in manufacturing, distribution, stocking and sale of such SUP items.
Those violating the ban will invite punitive action, including a fine or a jail term or both as detailed under Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act (EPA) and the bylaws of respective municipal corporations.
“According to the Act, whoever fails to comply with the provisions may be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend to Rs 1 lakh, or with both,” reports The Economic Times.
To make the ban more effective, national and state-level control rooms have been set up for checking the illegal manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of banned single-use plastic items. Besides, states and union territories have been asked to set up border checkpoints to stop the interstate movement of any banned single-use plastic items, the Ministry said in a recent statement.
“The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Grievance Redressal app has been launched to empower citizens to help curb plastic menace,” a statement by the Ministry read. Additionally, appropriate directions have been issued to the e-commerce companies, leading users of SUP and plastic raw material manufacturers to phase out such items.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generates around 2.4 lakh tonnes of SUP per annum. The per capita SUP production is 0.18 kg per year.
Here’s the list of the banned SUP items:
- Items with plastic sticks like earbuds, plastic sticks for balloons, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks and plastic flags.
- Plastic items like plates, cups, glasses, trays and plastic cutleries like forks, spoons, knives, straws, and stirrers.
- Plastic wrapping or packaging films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets.
- Polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration.
- Plastic or PVC banners that are less than 100 microns.
To help bridge the gap that these non-biodegradable items will leave, here are a few eco-friendly alternatives:
- Use bamboo earbuds or use ear drops as an alternative.
- Use reusable or biodegradable containers made of eco-friendly materials like glass, food-grade stainless steel, bamboo, rice husk, etc.
- Use reusable cutlery made of stainless steel or use biodegradable ones made of wood, bamboo or other natural fibres. Don’t forget to say no to plastic cutlery while ordering food online by opting not to include it. Also carry steel, bamboo or wheat straws when going out.
- Use reusable cups made of glass or ceramic instead.
- Use paper bags or cloth bags.
Media statement by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
Ban on single-use plastics kicks in: Check the banned items and how much you may be fined, published by The Economics Times on 1 July 2022.
Ban on single-use plastic items kicks in from today, published by The Mint on 1 July 2022.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)