City stakeholders told to phase out single-use plastic stocks by June 30
The pollution watchdog also asked manufacturers, retailers, shopkeepers and the general public to ensure a zero inventory of the single use plastic (SUP) items by June 30, 2022.
Four days after the Union environment ministry notified the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2022, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has issued a public notice, announcing a ban on the entry of plastic waste into Delhi from neighbouring states.
The pollution watchdog also asked manufacturers, retailers, shopkeepers and the general public to ensure a zero inventory of the single use plastic (SUP) items by June 30, 2022. These include non-woven bags less than 60 gram per sqm in thickness, sachets made of plastic, plastic bags less than 75 microns in thickness, plastic cutlery, plastic stirrers, sticks and banners among others.
The order also said all manufacturers of raw materials to cease the supply of plastic items to those engaged in the production of the banned SUP products to ensure they can be eliminated in Delhi.
“All manufacturers of plastic raw materials should ensure suppliers, stockists, dealers and other entities engaged in the industries supply chain do not supply plastic raw materials to the producers engaged in the production of the banned SUP items,” the order said.
Most single-use plastic items have little to no recyclable value, finding their way to landfill sites, or simply clogging up drains before entering rivers. They pollute the air if incinerated and can break down into millions of tiny pieces over time, known as microplastics which can contaminate the soil and water.
According to the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2022, SUP items are to be phased out in a planned manner, including plastic bags less than 75 microns thick, with effect from September 30, 2021, and plastic bags less than 120 microns in thickness with effect from December 31, 2022. Non-woven bags less than 60 gram per square metre (GSM) are also banned with effect from September 30, 2021.
Other items prohibited from July 1 include earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, thermocol for decoration, plastic cutlery, cigarette packs, plastic stirrers and PVC banners thinner than 100 microns.
Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav announced the notification of the new Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules on Thursday night.
The official said the order comes into effect immediately and those found violating timelines could be charged environmental damage compensation mandated under the anti-pollution laws.
“Fines could stretch up to ₹10 lakh for industries if over 1 tonne of banned plastic is recovered, and ₹2 lakh if up to 100kg of banned SUP items are found. For individuals found carrying banned plastic items, fines could be up to ₹5,000.
The city’s municipal corporations have also been asked to ensure no plastic waste enters Delhi or reaches its landfills, for which segregation is also needed, the official said.
Ashish Jain, founder-director of the NGO Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA) said the rules were fairly stringent, and the directions meant for each stakeholder were fairly clear.
“As compared to the initial notification released last year, this time, rules not only talk about the collection, but they also focus on reusing and recycling of existing plastic waste. The rules also talk about developing infrastructure like material recovery facilities which can facilitate more collection and segregation of plastic, ensuring maximum recovery of the plastic waste,” said Jain.