Seen as a defining step, on June 28, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change announced that the government would begin a nationwide ban on single-use plastic products on July 1. It is well accepted that single-use plastic garbage has a detrimental effect on both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Addressing Single-Use Plastic has become a challenging task for conserving the environment for all the confronting countries.
Simply speaking, Single-use plastic refers to objects used just once before being thrown away. Hence, to mitigate its negative environmental consequences and achieve its global climate goals, beginning July 1, some single-use plastic products with low usefulness and a high risk for littering will no longer be produced, imported, stored, distributed, sold, or used.
Here’s the list of banned items:
- Earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks
- Polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration
- Plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic glasses, plastic cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays
- Wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes
- Invitation cards, cigarette packets
- Plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, stirrers.
Measures announced to aid the ban in immediate effect
- The ministry notification further said that control rooms at the national and state levels must be established to monitor the unauthorised production, importation, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of products made of single-use plastic that is prohibited.
- Plastic carry bags with a thickness of less than 75 microns are currently illegal to manufacture, import, store, distribute, sell, and use, according to the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021. From December 31, 2022, plastic carry bags with a thickness of less than 120 microns will no longer be legal.
- The CPCB Grievance Redressal App was introduced to enable citizens to combat the plastics epidemic. On April 5th, the mascot PRAKRITI was also introduced in an effort to attract a larger audience.
- If the orders are not followed, a penalty fine for the use and littering of SUP items would be imposed as follows:
- Spot fine on waste generators of Rs.500/-
- Spot fine on institutional waste generators of Rs.5000/-
Requests and Petitions by the Industries using SUP
Thermoformers and Allied Industries Association (TAIA) and Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons (AARC), had already requested that the government implement a gradual ban on single-use plastics rather than a blanket one starting on July 1. A ban on single-use plastics, which are used to make plastic plates, cups, glasses, and trays, will put an end to their production and destroy a 10,000 crore rupee business that directly and indirectly supports 2 lakh people. Businesses predicted that the introduction of the ban on 1 July would bring up a number of difficulties, including supply shortages and the need to make plans for substitutes such as imported paper straws.
Alternatives for Single Use Plastic (SUP) items
Even though single-use plastics are present in almost every industry and also in every household, there are certain alternatives that can help eradicate SUP and save the environment. Listed below are a few of the options:
- Cotton bags– a natural alternative to plastic bags. When cleaned, sustainable clothes made of organic cotton, wool, hemp, or bamboo won’t lint up with plastic fibres.
- Bamboo– This quickly expanding renewable resource can take the place of plastic in products like straws and dinnerware. It is biodegradable, strong, and lightweight.
- Wooden items– As a renewable resource, wood from sustainably managed forests may be used in place of plastic to make household items like cutting boards, cleaning brushes, and culinary utensils.
- Pottery and other ceramics– ceramics is a sturdy, waterproof option that works well for dinnerware and food storage. Look for glazes that are non-toxic.
- Biodegradable plastics– Biodegradable or “Compostable plastics” are defined as plastics that, with the exception of conventional petro-based plastics, degrade biologically during composting to produce CO2, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at a rate comparable to that of other known compostable materials while leaving no discernible, toxic, or visible residue.
Changes made on an individual level can create quite an impact on a bigger level for the preservation of nature. Join this drive today and spread awareness about the hazardous nature of SUP among friends and family for the betterment of the environment and India’s green future.