India won’t be banning plastic — for now
- The Indian environment ministry issued a letter to states and union territories informing them that there is no imminent ban on single-use plastics.
- It also clarified that the ban would not affect multi-layered packaging, normally used for food and beverages.
- The document shared by ministry outlines action points to achieve the goal of eliminating single-use plastic by 2022.
The environment ministry issued a document to states and union territories (UTs) clarifying that there is no ban on single-use plastics but that the country is still planning on eliminating their use by 2022, according to The Telegraph,
"There is now a need to take it (the awareness) to a new level and ensure that by 2022, we eliminate single-use plastic from our society," stated Environment Secretary Chandra Kishore Mishra in the letter.
The ministry outlines that states need to implement legislative interventions and behavioural changes to wean people away from consuming single-use plastics.
Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s call to action during India’s 73rd Independence Day had businesses in India worried about the potential economic impact.
If such a ban were to be implemented, it would affect everyday items like plastic cups and plastic plates at food stalls, packaging on biscuits and sodas, and small bottles.
Food and beverages are safe
The environment ministry also clarified that any planned guidelines to curb the consumption of single-use plastics will not apply to multi-layered plastic packaging, which is commonly used to package products like food and beverages.
During the Singapore-India Hackathon at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) on 30 September 2019, Modi clarified that he was exclusively campaigning against single-use plastic and not a plastic-free india.
"Some people, by mistake, are talking about plastic-free India. I have not said this. I have said that single-use plastic, which comes to use only once, causes a lot of problems," explained Modi.
The environment ministry pointed out that only five states — Maharashtra, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh — currently have legislation in place to regulate plastic waste.
It has asked other states to plan on introduce restrictions on plastic use to curate a list of products that they plan to on restricting.
It also clarified that there may not be a requirement to ban plastic bottles, like the ones used for packaging water and sodas, and that the focus should be on making sure the bottles are recyclable and can be reprocessed.
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