- The central government has decided to completely ban single-use plastic
- Plastic bottles for beverages, cigarette butts among 12 items facing ban
- India aims to completely eliminate single-use plastic by 2022
The central government, which has waged a war on single-use plastic, is planning to impose a ban on 12 items, including small plastic bottles used for beverages, thermocol (polystyrene) used for decoration and cigarette butts.
The central government has expressed its intention to completely ban single-use plastic but has not come up with a timeline to enforce it. On Thursday, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told NDTV that it will be banned in a phased manner.
The government has compiled a list of items which will be presented to the Central Pollution Control Board for banning.. The list includes: Thin carry bags (less than 50 microns), non-woven carry bags, small wrapping/packing films; straws and stirrers; cutlery: foamed cups, bowls and plates; laminated bows and plates; small plastic cups and containers (less than 150 ml and 5 grams); plastic sticks for ear buds, balloons, flags and candies; cigarette butts; expanded polystyrene; small plastics for beverages (less than 200 ml) and roadside banners (less than 100 microns).
The country's top anti-pollution body is preparing a road map for India to completely eliminate single-use plastic-- which is harmful for environment--by 2022.
The plastic industry was asked to submit their suggestions on alternatives of these items by Friday.
Dinesh Bharti, a businessman who owns plastic cutlery factories in Delhi and Punjab, says he has put on hold his expansion plans. He told NDTV that he had planned to order new moulds worth Rs 1.5 crore, but he can't do so because of the uncertainty over the proposed plastic ban.
Suraj, who sells laces and buttons at a shop in Delhi's Lajpat Nagar, says he has already switched over to paper and cloth bags. "We will do what the government tells us. We have no option but to comply," he said.
There are concerns that a ban on single-use plastic will lead to massive job losses. Mr Paswan on Thursday allayed those fears, saying that "new alternatives to plastic will also create new job opportunities".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in his Independence Day speech that the first step towards freeing India from single-use plastic will be taken on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
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