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Centre notifies new plastic waste management rules

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Will prohibit the use of plastic sticks on balloons, candy, earbuds, flags and ice-cream from July 1, 2022.

The rules, reflecting India’s efforts to phase out single-use plastic by 2022, will also increase the minimum thickness of plastic bags from the current 50 microns to 75 microns by September 30 this year and to 120 microns by December 31, 2022.

The thicker plastic carry bags are intended to eliminate the use of lightweight single-use plastic bags.

The ministry’s notification prohibits from July 1 next year plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, knives, spoons, stirrers, straws, trays, wrapping or packaging films around boxes of sweets, invitation cards, cigarette packets, and banners made from plastic less than 100 microns in thickness.

The rules prohibit from July 1, 2022, the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, for ear buds, balloons, flags, candy and ice-cream.

The ministry said any plastic packaging waste that is not covered under the phase-out of identified single-use plastic items shall be collected and managed in an “environmentally-sustainable way” through the Extended Producer Responsibility rules introduced in 2016.

The Central Pollution Control Board had estimated three years ago that India generates around 9,200 metric tonnes of plastic waste — carry bags, packing films, snack packets, among other items — daily, or over 3.3 million metric tonnes a year.

Waste management experts say the notification is in line with the goal of phasing out single-use plastics by 2022, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2019, but remain concerned about the fate of plastic waste in the country amid lack of reliable data on recycling.

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