National and State-level control rooms set up, special enforcement teams formed
As the ban on certain single-use plastic (SUP) items kicks in from Friday, State governments will initiate an enforcement campaign and close down units engaging in the production, distribution, stocking and sale of such items, Union Environment Ministry officials said.
The violation of the ban will invite punitive action, including a fine or a jail term or both, detailed under Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act (EPA) and under the bylaws of the respective municipal corporations, they said.
For effective enforcement of the ban, national and State-level control rooms have been set up, and special enforcement teams formed to check the illegal manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of banned SUP items, officials in the Ministry said.
States and Union Territories have been asked to set up border checkpoints to stop the inter-State movement of any banned SUP items.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has also launched a grievance redressal application to empower citizens to help curb the use of plastic.
Officials said plastic used for packaging in the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) sector is not banned but will be covered under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) guidelines. The EPR is a producer’s responsibility to ensure environmentally-sound management of the product until the end of its life.
According to the CPCB, India generates around 2.4 lakh tonnes of SUP per annum. The per capita SUP production is 0.18 kg per year.
On August 12 last year, the Ministry had issued a notification prohibiting the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified SUP commodities, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene from July 1, 2022.
The identified SUP items include earbuds, plastic sticks for balloons, flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol), plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, wrapping or packaging films around sweets boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners of less than 100 microns, and stirrers.
In Delhi, the Revenue Department and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee have constituted 33 and 15 teams, respectively, to ensure the enforcement of the ban.
Officials of the Delhi Environment Department said units engaging in the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of the identified SUP commodities, and other prohibited activities under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, will be immediately closed down. Punitive action will also be taken against people found violating the ban, a senior official said.