- India hosted this year’s World Environment Day and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a high-profile pledge, to international acclaim, that it would do away with all single-use plastics by 2022.
- This goal is not yet backed by an action plan so that State governments and local bodies can be in sync.
- Worldwide, the problem has got out of hand, with only 9% of about nine billion tonnes of plastic produced getting recycled.
- If the Centre and the States had got down to dealing with the existing regulations on plastic waste management and municipal solid waste, a ban would not even have become necessary. Specifications for the recycling of different types of plastics were issued two decades ago by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
what needs to be done?
- The Urban Development Secretary in each State, who heads the monitoring committee under the rules, should be mandated to produce a monthly report on how much plastic waste is collected, including details of the types of chemicals involved, and the disposal methods
- Priority, therefore, should be given to stop the generation of mixed waste, which prevents recovery of plastics.
- Companies covered by extended producer responsibility provisions must be required to take back their waste.
- In parallel, incentives to reduce the use of plastic carry bags, single-use cups, plates and cutlery must be in place. Retailers must be required to switch to paper bags.
Source: The Hindu