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Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules

Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules

The new Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules has been acknowledged by the centre.

It prohibited the manufacture, sale and use of some single-use goods made with plastic, polystyrene.

● Background:

The Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules notified by the Centre recently acknowledge the gravity of pollution caused by plastic articles of everyday use, particularly those that have no utility beyond a few minutes or hours.

In 2018, India won praise globally for asserting on World Environment Day that it would eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022, a theme that the Prime Minister has stressed more than once.

The Central Pollution Control Board has reported that 22 States have, in the past, announced a ban on single-use plastic;

But this has had little impact on the crisis of waste choking wetlands and waterways and being transported to the oceans to turn into microplastic.

● About the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules of 2021:

The Environment Ministry notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, which prohibit specific single-use plastic items which have low utility and high littering potential by 2022.

● Under the new rules from July 2022, the manufacture of a range of plastic products will be banned. These include

Earbuds with plastic sticks

Plastic flags, Ice-cream sticks, Thermocol for decoration, Plates &Cups.

Wrapping or packaging films around sweet boxes,

Invitation cards, and cigarette packets.

● Objective:

With effect from 30th September 2021, the thickness of plastic carry bags has been increased from fifty microns to seventy-five microns and to one hundred and twenty microns with effect from the 31st December, 2022.

This will also allow the reuse of plastic carry due to increasing thickness.

● Exemption:

Plastic packaging waste is not yet covered under the phase-out of single-use plastic items.

It shall be collected and managed in an environmentally sustainable way through the Extended Producer Responsibility of the Producer, importer and Brand owner (PIBO), as per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

For effective implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility, the Guidelines for Extended Producer Responsibility being brought out have been given legal force through Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.

A draft outlining the way forward was issued in March and involved amending the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Currently, the rules prohibit the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of carrying bags and plastic sheets less than 50 microns in thickness in the country.

There is a ban on sachets using plastic material used for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala.

● Challenges:

At about 34 lakh tonnes generated in 2019-20, India has a staggering annual volume of plastic waste, of which only about 60% is recycled.

India’s policies on environmental regulation are discordant, lofty on intent but feeble on outcomes, and plastic waste is no different.

● Lack of Recyclable infrastructure: Considerable amounts of plastic waste cannot be recycled because of lack of segregation, leading to incineration, while mixing newer types of compostable plastic will confound the problem.

Microplastic is already found in the food chain, and governments must act responsibly to stop the source

● Extended Producer Responsibility:

EPR is a policy approach under which producers are given a significant financial and physical responsibility (with respect to segregation and collection of waste at the source) for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.

Assigning such responsibility could in principle provide incentives to prevent wastes at the source, promote product design for the environment and support the achievement of public recycling and materials management goals.

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