It has been proposed to increase thickness of carry bags made of virgin plastic, now 50, to 120 microns
The Environment Ministry has put out a plan to “prohibit” the use of some categories of single use plastic by 2022, according to a response to question in the Rajya Sabha by Environment Minister Ashwini Choubey on Monday.
A draft outlining the way forward was issued in March and involves amending the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
Currently the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, prohibits manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of carry bags and plastic sheets less than 50 microns in thickness in the country. There is a ban on sachets using plastic material used for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala.
Among the additional changes proposed, according to the notification, are a proposal to increase the thickness of carry bags made of virgin plastic, now 50, to 120 microns.
Other items that are single use plastic and may be axed include plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, and thermocol (extended polystyrene) for decoration.
The Ministry said a multi-pronged strategy had been adopted to phase out identified single use plastic items in the country, which comprised generating awareness and behavioural change, a regulatory regime for phasing out identified single use plastic items that had “low utility and high littering” potential, engaging with stakeholders, strengthening the institutional mechanism for collecting, segregating, recycling and environmentally sustainable end of life disposal of plastic waste.
To reduce the use of identified single use plastic items, States and Union Territories were “requested” to constitute a Special Task Force under the chairpersonship of the Chief Secretary/ Administrator for elimination of single use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. Thirteen States/Union Territories had constituted such a Task Force till date. A National Level Taskforce has been constituted by the Ministry for taking coordinated efforts.
The Ministry has also issued “Standard Guidelines for Single Use Plastic” on January 21, 2019 to all States/Union Territories and Ministries. The government has been taking measures for awareness generation towards elimination of single use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules.
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