New Delhi: The Centre has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, prohibiting manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified single-use plastic (SUP) items, including candy sticks, plates, cups and cutlery, from July 1, 2022. The thickness of plastic carry bags will be increased from 50 microns to 75 microns from September 30, 2021, and to 120 microns from December 31, 2022, according to the notification dated August 12. This will also allow the plastic carry bags to be reused, it stated.
Non-woven plastic carry bags should not be less than 60 gram per square metre (GSM) with effect from September 30, 2021, the notification 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 July 1, 2022: 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," it read.
The provisions will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic, the notification said. In June 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India will eliminate all single-use plastics in the country by 2022.
In the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019, India had piloted a resolution on addressing single-use plastic products pollution, recognising the urgent need for the global community to focus on this issue. In a statement, the Environment Ministry said plastic packaging waste not covered under the phase-out of identified single-use plastic items should 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 the Extended Producer Responsibility, the guidelines being brought out have been given a legal force through the amended rules, it said. Extended Producer Responsibility is a policy approach in which producers take responsibility for management of the disposal of products they produce once those products are designated as no longer useful by consumers.
The Centre had earlier asked states and union territories to constitute a special task force under the chief secretary or the administrator for elimination of SUP and effective implementation of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. Fourteen states and UTs had constituted the special task force by July 23, according to a reply given by Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Choubey in Parliament.
The Environment Ministry has also set up a national-level task force for making coordinated efforts in this direction. The state and the UT governments and the central ministries and departments concerned have also been asked to develop a comprehensive action plan for elimination of SUP and effective implementation of the rules in a time-bound manner.
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