Watch out ! That plastic stirrer that you have in your plastic coffee cup may land you in more trouble than you bargained for. From tomorrow, people who use single use plastic in public places may have to cough up as much as a lakh of rupees! And we are not joking!
From July 1, 2022, India has banned the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified single use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, all across the country. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified this on 28 June.
The banned items are plastic stirrers, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic glasses, plastic cutlery like forks, spoons, and knives, plastic trays, wrapping or packing films around candy boxes, balloon sticks made of plastic, flags made of plastic, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, and polystyrene (Thermocol) for decorations.
Plastic carry bags with a thickness of less than 75 microns are currently illegal to manufacture, import, stock, distribute, sell, and use, according to the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021. Plastic carry bags with a thickness of less than 120 microns will be forbidden as of December 31, 2022.
But the industries are not amused. Just last week Bihar Industries Association (BIA) appealed to the state government to postpone the ban on single-use plastic from July 1, till the time an easily available and Eco-friendly alternatives are made available.
The government has refused to extend the deadline despite requests from various stakeholders, including Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies.
However Bihar government had already enforced a ban on the use of the single-use plastics from 14 December midnight. This ban was also notified six months ago, and later it was reversed by the state government, and announced that the ban will take place from 1 July 2022.
In September 2021, the Ministry had already banned the polythene bags under 75 microns expanding the limit from the earlier 50 microns. As per the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, there is also a complete ban on sachets using plastic material for storing, packing, or selling Gutkha, tobacco, and pan masala.
This time the ministry announcement made it clear that control rooms will be established at national and state level to monitor the unauthorized production, importation, stocking, distribution, sale and use of items made using the banned single-use plastics.
India has taken this decision to prevent the harmful effects of plastics on environment and in pursuance of its global climate goals.
Plastics are one of the reasons for the greenhouse gases in our environment. Sunlight and heat cause the plastic to release powerful greenhouse gases. The greenhouse effect is directly linked with global warming, which is creating difficulties in the lives of humans by extreme weather change like- heavy rainfall, flood, heatwaves, Drought and many more.
Millions of animals are killed by plastic every year worldwide. From birds to fish to other marine organisms, nearly 700 species including endangered ones are known to have been affected by plastics. Globally it is acknowledged that single-use plastic waste has a negative influence on marine environment and terrestrial ecosystem.
To save ourselves from all this, only one thing shall be stopped that is, the use of plastic.
The violation of the order by industries, all commercial establishments, including malls, marketplaces, shopping centers, cinemas, tourist places, educational institutions, offices and hospitals, will lead to the seizure of prohibited plastics products and will attract penalty up to Rs. 1 lakh, fine and even jail term under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, which allows for imprisonment up to 5 years, a penalty, or both.