New Delhi (The Hawk): CPCB has undertaken comprehensive measures to give effect to India’s commitment to ban identified Single Use Plastic items by 30thJune, 2022, to realise Hon’ble PM’s clarion call to phase out SUP.CPCB’s multi-pronged approach as part of its Comprehensive Action Plan encompasses measures to reduce supply of raw materials, demand side measures to reduce plastic demand, enabling measures to promote alternatives to SUP, digital interventions for efficient monitoring and to create awareness, and guidance to State Boards for effective implementation of directions.
As per the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, there is a complete ban on sachets using plastic material used for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala. As per PWM (Amended) Rules, 2021, the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of carry bags made of virgin or recycled plastic less than seventy- five microns has been banned with effect from 30th September, 2021 as opposed to fifty microns recommended earlier under PWM Rules, 2016. Additionally, the notification of12th August 2021, prohibits manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of the following identified single use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential with effect from the 1st July, 2022:
ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice- cream sticks, polystyrene [Thermocol] for decoration.
plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, stirrers.
To curb the supply of identified items, directions have been issued at national, state and local level. For example, all leading petrochemical industries to not supply plastic raw materials to the industries engaged in banned SUP production. Additionally, directions have been issued to SPCB/PCCs to modify / revoke Consent to operate issued under Air/Water Act to industries engaged in banned SUP production. Customs Authority have been asked to stop the import of banned SUP items. To complete the loop, Local Authorities have been being directed to issue fresh commercial licenses with the condition that SUP items shall not be sold on their premises and the existing commercial licenses shall be cancelled, if entities are found to be selling banned SUP items.
As an alternative to the existing supply, enabling measures for promoting alternative to SUP are being actively pursued. CPCB has already issued one-time certificates to around 200 manufacturers of compostable plastic. These certificates do not require renewal which is in line with ease-of doing business policy of the Government. Further, an Online portal has been developed to facilitate certification of these manufacturers. To support the MSMEs, CPCB in association with CIPET is organizing Workshops for MSMEs across the country to transition to alternatives to SUP. Three such Workshops have been held at Ranchi, Guwahati & Madurai. Development of alternatives to petro based plastics is also being pursued in collaboration leading technical institutions like IISc and CIPET.
On the demand side, directions have been issued to E-commerce companies, leading single use plastic sellers/users, and plastic raw material manufacturers with respect to phasing out of
identified single use plastic items. To encourage citizens to partake in the efforts, SPCB’s and local bodies are organizing large scale awareness drives with participation of all citizens – students, voluntary organisations, self-help groups, local NGOs/CSOs, RWAs, market associations, corporate entities, etc. Previously, CPCB conducted surprise inspections of Gutkha / Pan Masala manufacturing industries across the country to check usage of plastic in packaging of their product.
To create an enabling support system, CPCB is handholding the State Boards to operationalise the advisories issued by conducting meetings so that all the Urban local bodies in the respective states are able to effectively implement the guidelines with their help. Regional Workshops with SPCBs/PCCs in addition to a Central Workshop with Chairpersons of all SPCBs/PCCs is being organised in June 2022.
Finally, multiple digital interventions have been made to increase efficiency at scale. To enable citizen participation, an SUP Public Grievance App was launched by Hon’ble Minister EF&CC, Shri Bhupender Yadav. The app has geotagging features with facility to track complaints. An SUP Compliance Monitoring Portal for filing of Reports by State / UT Authorities in compliance with Comprehensive Directions issued by CPCB for a bird’s eye view of progress and day-to-day monitoring.
CPCB is committed to facilitating the Single Use Plastic Ban of notified items through active collaboration with key stakeholders to achieve this ambitious goal of phasing out SUP plastics for India’s green future.