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Single use plastic ban and the way forward

Gauging the severe impact of SUP, the Government of India came with stringent measures with effect from July, 2022 prohibiting the single use of plastic items with immediate effect

Post by on Sunday, August 14, 2022

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Indiscriminate use of plastic is a very serious cause of some diseases and hazardous for life, as neither neither the general public nor some manufactures follow the given code. Manufacturers are least bothered about the alternatives despite the fact many options can be easily explored. The common attitude and habit of the general public is deplorable though its use has a far reaching impact on life and environment. In the past Govt has devised many preventive measures containing the plastic use in various forms. In certain states of India Govt got encouraging results but in majority areas of the country the reckless use is unabating. As per the report of the Ministry of Environment, forest and climate, country generates around 2.4 lakh tonnes of (SUP) single use plastic material per annum. Last year The Ministry issued notification prohibiting manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified SUP commodities.

 

Gauging the severe impact of SUP, the Government of India came with stringent measures with effect from July, 2022 prohibiting the single use of plastic items with immediate effect. The items include Earbuds with plastic stick for balloons, plastic flags, plastic sticks, candy sticks, polystyrene for decoration, plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, Knives, straw, Trays, Stirrers, plastic Banners  less than 100 microns., wrappers/packing films, sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets. Now it is obligatory on the part of the Government to monitor the pace of implementation and action taken to implement the ban of SUP. The general public and Government Machinery need to take the steps against the use of such items; it will surely give a new lease of life to the degrading ecosystem.

 

The manufacturers need to explore alternatives which are Eco friendly. Even if it will take some time to develop the attitude and habit of using new alternatives, the practice can prove a boon for mother earth. Govt has geared up against the menace of single use plastic but the onus lies on field functionaries to implement the ban, change the mindset of people and take the punitive action against those violating ban. The action against the violation of guidelines includes a fine, jail term under section 15 of the Environmental Protection Act EPA and under bylaws. Single use plastic items are the plastic material which are only used once then discarded in trash. India is one such nation which uses and manufactures highest SUP.  Most of the plastics produced are manufactured from fossil fuels. On the current trajectory of production it is estimated that single use plastic could account for 5 to 10 ? of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

 

 

 

As per reports domestic production of SUP is 11.8 million metric tonnes annually and import of 2.9.MMT and per capita generation is 4 Kg. The drawback of SUP is that it is not biodegradable or compostable and it remains in the environment for long duration of time and it doesn't decay instead turns into Micro plastics. It first enters into food sources and then permeates into human body which is very toxic and harmful for life. SUP contributes 95? packaging materials which creates large scale environmental hazards. According to the United Nations, each year, about 11 million metric tons of plastic waste ends up in water bodies. In coming times the number is expected to triple.  175 member countries  of UN  environment  Assembly  in March 2022  agreed  to develop a treaty for curbing  plastic use  by 2024 , this shows that single use plastic is not  only the problem of India but rest of the nations face the same challenges by its indiscriminate use .

 

The National and state level Govt organisations/ NGOs  should chalk out  strategy and establish the active enforcement teams to check the illegal manufacture, import, and distribution of single use plastic products. The Govt and the concerned authorities should take prompt action to complaints and a well developed system should be in place to empower citizens to help them curb single plastic usage. It is pertinent to mention here that some organic substances have potential to substitute the use of SUP Like sugar cane   and many more. Dependence on use of SUP can easily be reduced by the right attitude of people given the fact that plastic has created havoc by its indiscriminate use. We must be mindful and exhibit  sensible  response and  support needs to be garnered by all stakeholders, environment activists , NGO , allied Government departments like health, Ecology , ICDS, PRI, Revenue  police and others to impose ban in toto and enforcement agencies  must show grit and skills  for better future and safeguard  life and resources.

 

(Author is Columnist and can be reached on: irasoolaleem@gmail.com)

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