In Kerala, ban on single-use plastic from July 1

There is a man behind this pile of bags containing plastic bottles perched on a bicycle. File

There is a man behind this pile of bags containing plastic bottles perched on a bicycle. File | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

The State will strictly enforce the ban on single-use plastic products from Friday.

The State Government had banned the manufacture, sale, storage, and transportation of single-use plastic as far back as January 2020. Even as the use of plastic bags seemed to be on the way out, the ban could not be enforced, particularly as COVID-19 reared its head.

Now, the Union Government has announced the ban on manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of certain single-use plastic products that have low utility and high potential for littering on July 1. These include ear buds with plastic sticks, candy sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, ice-cream sticks, plastic flags, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, and glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping of packing film around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packs, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, and stirrers.

The Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, already prohibit manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of plastic carry bags having thickness less than 75 microns. They also provide for a ban on plastic carry bags with thickness less than 120 microns from December 31.

With this, the list of banned single-use plastic products in the State includes plastic carry bags irrespective of thickness; garbage bags; non-woven bags, plastic flags and buntings; PET/PETE bottles of drinking water of capacities less than 500 ml; plastic-coated paper cups, plates, bowls, and paper carry bags; plastic/plastic-coated leaves used as plates; plastic packets (use of plastic packets in retail outlets for packing fruits and vegetables; plastic sapling bags; plastic sheets used as table spreads; plastic water pouches, non-branded plastic juice packets; plates, cups, and decorations made of thermocol; PVC flex materials, plastic-coated cloth; and single-use plastic utensils such as cups, plates, spoons, and straw.

Suchitwa Mission officials say though the Union Government notification does not specify fines for violations, penalty in the range of ₹10,000 to ₹50,000 will be imposed as well as cancellation of licence as per current provisions.

Local bodies and the police together enforce the plastic ban. While some local bodies are proactive about it, others are not equipped enough. In such cases, setting up of district-level squads to get local bodies to take action is under consideration, say the officials.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 8:09:10 am |