Elastic plastic ban

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/22/2021 1:06:56 PM IST

 After the recent deluge in Dimapur, some small nullahs cutting across the city erupted into streams of all manner o f plastic and the sight was electrifying. Layers of plastic and garbage topped the nullahs as they looked like glacier flow. The scene clearly reminded all and sundry in Dimapur especially the civic authorities that despite ban on plastic which was highlighted in the media, little has changed. This is one of the many instances where everybody appears more intent on other aspects than on health and hygiene. The civic bodies are not able to do what is needed to be done simply because of composition or because those in authority are too busy chasing new projects. When ban on plastic was officially announced, the government did it with much fanfare as if it was actually either capable or prepared or determined. It may be recalled that Nagaland officially declared a complete ban on single-use plastic following the cabinet decision on June 10,2019. According to the notification in the Nagaland Gazette stated, the ban went into effect mid-September 2019. Plastic items banned included- 1.all plastic carry bags, with or without handles, irrespective of thickness and size; 2. plastic cutlery including plates, plastic cups, straws, stirrers etc, 3. cutlery and other decorative made of styrofoam (thermocol) and 4.polythene, nylon, poly-vinyl-carbohydrates, poly-propylene and poly-Styrene. Though a majority of states have not been successful in totally banning plastic use, Sikkim is among the few states where it has been successful. Sikkim’s success was mainly through its three-pronged strategy. It strictly enforced the ban, made awareness compulsory in all institutions including market places and third, provided affordable alternative bags and at the same time, encouraged people to take their own shopping bags to market. At the national level, the government of India has identified the Single Use Plastic (SUP) items to be banned based on an index of their utility and environmental impact. Environmental experts have welcomed this move while plastic manufacturers have expressed reservations and asked for putting off the ban by a year on account of the pandemic-induced economic slump. The new draft will replace the existing rules on plastic waste management which were notified in 2016 and amended in 2018. The new 2021 draft rules have proposed to prohibit manufacture, import, stocking, distribution and sale of certain single-use plastics from January 1, 2022. While mulling on suggestions and objections from people across the nation till May 11,2021, the ministry of environment will act on the feedback on three areas. In the three-stage ban, the first category of SUP items proposed to be phased out are plastic sticks used in balloons, flags, candy, ice-cream and ear buds, and thermocol used in decorations. The second category, proposed to be banned from July 1, 2022, includes items such as plates, cups, glasses and cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays; wrapping and packing films used in sweet boxes; invitation cards; cigarette packets; stirrers and plastic banners that are less than 100 microns in thickness. A third category of prohibition is for non-woven bags below 240 microns in thickness. This is proposed to start from September 30, 2022. The government may be driven by a sense of duty and purpose but it will need more than planning to effectively and successfully implement them.

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