India to completely ban single use plastic by June 30, issues directions to authorities

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LONDON - FEBRUARY 29: Shoppers leave a Sainsburys store with their purchases in plastic bags on February 29, 2008 in London, England. The Prime Minister Gordon Brown has stated that he will force retailers to help reduce the use of plastic bags if they do not do so voluntarily. (Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

New Delhi: In a bid to ban single-use plastics (SUP) completely by June 30th the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has undertaken comprehensive measures and issued directions at the national, state, and local level.

“CPCB is committed to facilitating the Single-Use Plastic Ban of notified items through active collaboration with key stakeholders to achieve this ambitious goal of phasing out SUP plastics for India‚Äôs green future’ CPCB said in a statement.

The Plastic Waste Management (PWM) (Amended) Rules, 2021, notified in August 2021, prohibits the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of several single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential from July 1, 2022.

These items include 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 etc.

According to the data, approximately 3.5 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated every year across India.

As per the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, there is a complete ban on sachets using plastic material used for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala.

The items include 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 microns, stirrers.

As per PWM (Amended) Rules, 2021, the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of carry bags made of virgin or recycled plastic less than seventy- five microns has been banned with effect from 30th September, 2021 as opposed to fifty microns recommended earlier under PWM Rules, 2016.

According to CPCB, all leading petrochemical industries to not supply plastic raw materials to the industries engaged in banned SUP production.

Additionally, directions have been issued to SPCB/PCCs to modify / revoke Consent to operate issued under Air/Water Act to industries engaged in banned SUP production.

Customs Authority have been asked to stop the import of banned SUP items. To complete the loop, Local Authorities have been being directed to issue fresh commercial licenses with the condition that SUP items shall not be sold on their premises and the existing commercial licenses shall be cancelled, if entities are found to be selling banned SUP items.

As an alternative to the existing supply, enabling measures for promoting alternative to SUP are being actively pursued. CPCB has already issued one-time certificates to around 200 manufacturers of compostable plastic.

On the demand side, directions have been issued to E-commerce companies, leading single use plastic sellers/users, and plastic raw material manufacturers with respect to phasing out of identified single use plastic items.

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