The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (“MoEFCC”) had notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021 (“2021 Amendment Rules”) on 12 August 2021, prohibiting the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of specific and identified single use plastic (“SUP”), including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene. This ban on identified types of single use plastic came into effect from 1st July 2022.
List of identified SUP Items prohibited from 1st July 2022 by the 2021 Amendment Rules are as follows:
- Earbuds 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 micron, stirrers.
In order to ensure effective enforcement of the SUP ban, national and state level control rooms have been set up and special enforcement teams will be formed for checking illegal manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of banned single use plastic items. In addition to the above, border checkpoints will also be set up to ensure that banned SUP items are not moved across state lines.
In addition to the above, the 2021 Amendment Rules also prohibited the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of plastic carry bags having thickness less than thickness of one hundred and twenty microns with effect from the 31st December 2022.
Penalty: The violation of the SUP ban will attract penal consequences under Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 (“EPA Act”) whereby failure to comply with or being in contravention of any of the provisions of the EPA Act, or the rules made thereunder (i.e. including the 2021 Amendment Rules) is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both. In case the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure or contravention continues.
The 2021 Amendment Rules were followed by the publication of the EPR Guidelines that were introduced in February 2022 with an aim to increase accountability of PIBOs, to ensure effective and incentivized, channelisation and recycling of plastic waste, in turn strengthening the circular economy of plastic. The enforcement of the identified SUP ban is the first step towards reducing and preventing environmental pollution and will also give a push to PIBOs to manufacture and utilise sustainable alternatives. However, the enforcement of this ban, awareness amongst end consumers as well as providing alternatives at a reasonable price to consumers will continue to be challenges for the government.
Link to PIB Press Release : https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1837518
Link to Amendment dated 12th August 2021 : https://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2021/228947.pdf
Link to our blog on the EPR Guidelines published in February 2022: https://www.saikrishnaassociates.com/plastic_waste_management_amendment_rules_2022.php