Environment Ministry prepares to phase out single-use of plastics before 2022

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The Union Environment Ministry on Tuesday kick-started a two-month long campaign to raise awareness on single use plastics, for which a number of events are lined up accordingly.

In March this year, the Environment Ministry had issued a draft notification to phase out single use plastic products in a series of phases by 2022 via amendments in the plastic waste management rules. Following the guidelines, starting from January 1, 2022, the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene [thermocol] for decoration will be strictly prohibited.

The ban will further be extended to single-use plastics (also inclusive of polystyrene and expanded polystyrene) like plates, glasses, cutlery, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets, and also plastic and PVC banners with size less than 100 microns commencing from July 1, 2022.

In a recorded message, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “Many states have already made legislations to phase out single use plastic. We have decided to curb the use of thin plastic bags below 40 microns thickness and all state governments to keep a check on units manufacturing thin plastic bags.”

The launch event was disturbed as several international websites experienced outages on Tuesday.

This awareness campaign will comprise of behavioral change, policy, and regulatory regime with the intent of phasing out single-use plastics, and strengthening the waste management infrastructure of the country abiding by the protocols of a circular economy (a model based on production and consumption which concentrates on reuse and recycle) by the involvement of other ministries and collaboration with industry associations and with producer, importer and brand owners, according to RP Gupta, secretary, ministry of environment and forests. The awareness campaign will be initiated in the country in collaboration with several bodies and associations like the United Nations Environment Programme, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry and GIZ, German environment organization, etc.

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