The Central government has announced a ban on single-use plastic from July 1, 2022.
- The Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change had issued a gazette notification in 2021, announcing the ban on single-use plastic.
- The ban includes manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of single use plastic items.
- The ban will come into effect from July 1, 2022.
- The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has defined the list of items that will be banned from the above-mentioned date.
- Items included in the banned list are – plastic sticks, cutlery items, packing/wrapping films, etc.
- Those found violating the ban can be penalised under the Environment Protection Act 1986 – which allows for imprisonment up to 5 years, or a penalty up to Rs 1 lakh, or both.
What is it?
- Single-use plastics are goods that are made primarily from fossil fuel–based chemicals (petrochemicals) and are meant to be disposed of right after use.
- Single-use plastics are most commonly used for packaging and serviceware such as bottles, wrappers, straws, and bags.
- A 2021 report by an Australian organisation said single-use plastics account for a third of all plastic produced globally, with 98% manufactured from fossil fuels.
- Single-use plastic also accounts for the majority of plastic discarded — 130 million metric tons globally in 2019.
Why is it bad?
- Petroleum based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean.
- Although plastic will not biodegrade (decompose into natural substance like soil) it will degrade (break down) into tiny particles over the years.
- In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals (additives that were used to shape and harden the plastic) which make their way into our food and water supply.
- On the current trajectory of production, it has been projected that single-use plastic could account for 5-10% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Single Use Plastic in India –
- India used 18.45 million tonnes of plastic in the year 2018, according to industry estimates. The plastic produced in the same time period was 17 million tonnes.
- According to a TERI report, published in 2018, average per capita consumption of plastic in India is about 11 kgs. It would increase to 20 kgs by 2022.
- Only 60% of the total plastic waste is being recycled.
- Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 mandated the producers and brand owners to devise a plan in consultation with the local bodies to introduce a collect-back system. This system is known as the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR).
- However, collection efficiency is poor in India.