Ban should be strict
One of the major environmental concerns that the world and more particularly the developing nations face is the extra use of single use plastic (SUP) items which in the long run are proving disastrous to the environment.
Though various measures were announced by the government from time to time to tackle this issue but as always various quarters have been opposing the move forcing the government to initiate a complete ban on single use plastic items across the country.
Interestingly, the ban on certain single-use plastic items kicks in India from today with state governments initiating an enforcement campaign to identify and close down units engaging in production, distribution, stocking and sale of such items.
Though several manufacturers have said they are not prepared to implement the ban due to a lack of alternatives, the government has this time round conveyed its message that no more extensions will be offered on this front.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in one of its reports has claimed that India generates around 2.4 lakh tonnes of SUP per annum. The per capita SUP production is 0.18 kg per year, and this is quite high compared to many other nations across the globe.
On August 12 last year, the ministry had issued a notification prohibiting manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified SUP commodities, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene from July 1, 2022.
The identified SUP items include earbuds, plastic sticks for balloons, flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol), plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, wrapping or packaging films around sweets boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners of less than 100 microns, and stirrers.
The ban has been announced from today and violation of the ban will invite punitive action, including a fine or a jail term or both, detailed under Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act (EPA) and under bylaws of respective municipal corporations.
Importantly, the government has readied itself for imposing the ban in latter and spirit and for this national and state-level control rooms have been set up and special enforcement teams formed to check illegal manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of banned SUP items. Even the states and Union Territories have been asked to set up border checkpoints to stop the interstate movement of any banned SUP items.
Notably, plastic used for packaging in the FMCG sector is not banned but will be covered under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) guidelines. The EPR is a producer’s responsibility to ensure environmentally-sound management of the product until the end of its life.
The ban on (SUP) items needs to be welcomed by one and all. The use of plastic in our day to affairs is increasing fast and our dependence on such products is also increasing.
This makes it all the more important so that the plastic waste that we generate is curtailed so that we also contribute our bit to help conserve the environs rather than damaging it further.