India will ban manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, all across the country from July 1, 2022.

For effective enforcement of ban on identified single-use plastics items, national and state level control rooms will be set up and special enforcement teams will be formed, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change says.

States and Union Territories have been asked to set up border checkpoints to stop inter-state movement of any banned single-use plastic items, it adds.

The list of banned items includes earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice- cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packaging films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, and stirrers.

This comes after prime minister Narendra Modi gave a clarion call to phase out single-use plastic items by 2022. In the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019, India had piloted a resolution on addressing single-use plastic products pollution.

The Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, also prohibit manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of plastic carrybags having thickness less than seventy five microns with effect from September 30, 2021, and having thickness less than thickness of one hundred and twenty microns with effect from December 31, 2022.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has also notified the Guidelines on Extended Producers Responsibility on plastic packaging as Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2022 on February 16, 2022. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is the responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life.

The guidelines aim to provide a framework to strengthen the circular economy of plastic packaging waste, promote development of new alternatives to plastic packaging and provide next steps for moving towards sustainable plastic packaging by businesses.

"Capacity building workshops are being organised for MSME units to provide them technical assistance for manufacturing of alternatives to banned single use plastic items with the involvement of central and state pollution control boards along with Ministry of Small Micro and Medium Enterprises and Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering (CIPET) and their state centres," the government says, adding that provisions have also been made to support such enterprises in transitioning away from banned single use plastics.

CPCB Grievance Redressal app has been launched to empower citizens to help curb plastic menace.

The government says it has taken measures for awareness generation towards elimination of single-use plastics. "The awareness campaign has brought together entrepreneurs and startups, industry, central, state and local governments, regulatory bodies, experts, citizens organisations, R&D and academic institutions," it adds.

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