Published on: August 16, 2021



What is in news : Environment Ministry notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021

What does the new rules say :

  • Prohibit specific single-use plastic items with “low utility and high littering potential by the year 2022
  • Manufacture of a range of plastic products will be banned
  • These plastic products comprise of ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, candy sticks, plastic flags, ice-cream sticks, thermocol for decoration, cups plates, cups, glasses as well as cutlery like knives, spoons, forks, trays, straws, wrapping or packing films, invitation cards and cigarette packets as well as PVC banners of less than 100 microns

Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016

  • Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, prohibits manufacture, import, stocking, sale, distribution and use of carry bags and plastic sheets with thickness less than 50 microns in India.
  • It also bans the sachets using plastic material used to store, pack or sell gutkha, tobacco and pan masala.
  • To amend these rules, draft comprising of way forward was issued in March 2021.
  • Following this, Ministry constituted a National Level Taskforce to take coordinated efforts in order to eliminate identified single use plastic items and effective implementation of the 2016 Rules.

Reasons for the Ban:

  • Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.
  • Plastic is so cheap and convenient that it has replaced all other materials from the packaging industry but it takes hundreds of years to disintegrate.
  • Further, Petroleum-based plastic is non-biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean.
  • In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals (additives that were used to shape and harden the plastic) which make their way into our food and water supply.
  • Pollution due to single use plastic items has become an important environmental challenge confronting all countries and India is committed to take action for mitigation of pollution caused by littered Single Use Plastics.
  • At the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly in 2019, India piloted a resolution on addressing single-use plastic products pollution.
  • The Prime Minister of India was also conferred the “champions of the earth” award by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2018 for pledging to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022.

India’s resolution: India highlighted its resolution to address single-use plastic products pollution in 2019 at 4th United Nations Environment Assembly.