INDIA - Indian local legislators have begun to implement rules regulating the use of plastic packaging in advance of national plastic Waste Management and Handling legislation, which had been due to be implemented before the end of 2015, that will effectively ban all non-compostable or non-biodegradable plastic packaging.
With many of India’s state and municipality legislatures already having regulations on their local statute books, they have now begun to enforce rules – some of which were gazette into law as long ago as 2010, but were never implemented.
- Himachal Pradesh (HP) has completely banned plastic carry bags.
- State of Haryana has banned plastic carry bags in tourist and religious places.
- Union Territory Chandigarh has also banned plastic carry bagsin
- The precincts of Kushalnagar and Somawarpet Town the use of plastic covers and plastic cups has been banned under a notification from Deputy Commissioner, Coorg dated 19 October 2010.
- The Panchayat region, the Deputy Commissioners of Chikkaballapur, Chikkamagalur and Shimoga have banned the usage of plastics covers and plastic cups in and around the Panchayat district limits.
Meanwhile bans on plastic bags have been bouncing in and out of the High Courts in Mumbai and New Delhi for more than eight years, and the National Waste Management and Handling Law still awaits implementation guidelines and regulations.
“All these things happen due to, lack of knowledge about plastic on the part of Law - Makers,” according to Mihir Banerji, vice-president, Indian Plastics Institute, and committee member Indian of the Institute of Packaging, himself a polymer technologist. “These days we regularly see banners reading “Say No To Plastics!!!”
“Of course our littering habits are largely to blame, but industry has done very little so far to counter such misleading propaganda and to generate awareness among common people.
“There have been several fact-finding committees and commissions established by the Central Government of India to deal the issue, but they have yet to find any concrete solution,” noted Banerji.
“A Task Force was originally constituted as far back as 1997 to examine the ‘impact of plastic waste and management’. This was then followed in 2002 by a one-man committee – comprised of a retired judge - which examined environmental hazards posed by indiscriminate littering and disposal of plastic waste and forwarded recommendations to Government.”
He continued, “Another Committee was set up in 2007 by the Delhi State Government to assess the ‘environmental hazards’ related to use of plastic bags and also forwarded recommendations.
“In 2010, an ‘Expert Committee’ was appointed by the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) to evolve a road map for management of ‘waste in the country including plastic waste’. It published its recommendations in 2011.”
More recently in 2015, another committee was formed by MoEF of the Union of India where Mihir Banerji represented the Indian Plastics Institute specifically dealing with the issue of ‘metalized multilayer packages’. According to Banerji, “The draft notification has yet to arrive.
The full interview with Mihir Banerji is now available in the latest issue of Packaging Business Insight Asia.
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