India Bans Single-Use Plastic To Fight Pollution
After years of planning & preparation, India has banned the use of ‘single-use plastic’ also known as throw-away plastics in nationwide from July 1, even as industry associations requested the centre not to impose a blanket ban but implement it in a phased manner. In August last year, a gazette notification the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021 had been issued by the Ministry for Environment, Forest & Climate Change announcing the ban, & a list of items has now been defined that will remain banned from next month. The Centre has, however, clarified that violation of the ban will have punitive action, including a jail term or a fine or both, detailed under Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act & under bylaws of respective municipal corporations.
Single use plastics are usually items that are discarded after being used only once and doesn’t go for the recycling process. These kinds of plastics are often not disposed of appropriately & can’t be recycled as well. Since disposable plastics are petroleum-based, they are not easy to recycle. India stands in the top 100 countries of single-use plastic waste generation & needs to implement urgent measures to shift toward environmentally sustainable products & services as well as devise technology that recycles plastic more efficiently.
For the first stage, the government has identified 19 plastic items that it said are not very useful but have a high potential to become litter and the rules mandate a ban on manufacturing, import, stocking, distribution, sale, & use of single-use plastic items -- an industry that is worth Rs 10,000 crore. The single-use plastic manufacturing industry employs nearly 200,000 people directly &, approx. 450,000 indirectly. The law would cover rigid plastic items such as glasses, plates, cutlery, cups, wrapping or packaging films, PVC banners less than 100 micron, straws, & stirrers. The govt. will also phase out some disposable plastic bags & replace with thicker ones to encourage re-use.
Combating pollution caused by single-use plastics has become a prominent environmental concern for all countries. The hazardous effects of littered single-use plastic products on aquatic & terrestrial ecosystems, particularly on the marine environment, are acknowledged globally. Reproductive organs, lungs, and the neurological system can be damaged by ingestion of single-use plastic. An estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic garbage are floating in our waters, harming species and altering the marine ecosystem. By prohibiting these plastic items, the Government, therefore, can reduce plastic waste production.
Earlier, various industry stakeholders argued that India possess low capacity of producing alternative solutions to the banned items. However, to counter this, the centre is organising capacity building workshops for MSME units to provide them technical assistance for manufacturing of alternatives to banned single use plastic items with the involvement of state & national level pollution control boards & Ministry of MSMEs. Such enterprises are needed to be supported with some provisions in transitioning away from banned single use plastics. The Centre has also initiated steps to promote innovation & provide an ecosystem for accelerated penetration and availability of alternatives
India feels proud of taking this initiative & contribute the most. Despite an emerging economy, India plays a leadership role in demonstrating to the rest of the world how to protect the environment & promote sustainability. By outlawing single-use plastic products, India will now be a leader. There is a need to review & analyse data of other nations for successful implementation of the ban. There is a requirement of developing ways to make the transition smooth & economical. This would generate enormous benefits for all, thereby preventing the extravagance on the downstream effects of pollution. Moreover, action will drive breakthroughs that will help the global economy of the future. We need to understand that plastic is not the issue. It depends on of its use. Therefore, conscientious must be in our use of plastic materials to improve the earth’s sustainability & our health.
Write a public review