As part of the pledge by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, to phase out single use plastic items by 2022, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, on 12 August 2021. With the spirit of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsava‘, this is a definitive step to curb pollution caused by litter and unmanaged plastic waste. On July 1, 2022, India will ban the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of single use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, all over the country.
Littering single-use plastic items have adverse effects on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including marine environments. Solving the pollution problem caused by single-use plastic is an important issue for all countries.
In the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019, India had piloted a resolution on addressing single-use plastic products pollution, recognizing the urgent need for the global community to focus on this very important issue. The adoption of this resolution at UNEA 4 was a big deal. During the recently concluded 5th UN Environment Assembly in March 2022, India engaged constructively with member states to agree on a resolution to drive global action on plastic pollution.
Indian government has taken resolute steps to reduce pollution caused by littered single-use plastics. A few of the things they’ve banned include ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery like forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers.
The Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, also prohibit manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of plastic carry bags having thickness less than seventy-five microns with effect from 30 September 2021 and having thickness less than thickness of one hundred and twenty microns with effect from the 31 December 2022.
In addition, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2022 on 16 February 2022. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life. The Guidelines will strengthen the circular economy of plastic packaging waste, promote the development of new alternatives to plastic packaging, and give businesses next steps for sustainable packaging.