Plastic is incredibly versatile due to its various physical and chemical properties, making it a commercial success. However, the widespread disposal of plastic has emerged as a significant threat to our environment. One of the main culprits is plastic carry bags, which contribute heavily to littered waste. Each year, millions of these bags end up in our environment, contaminating our soil, water bodies, and more. Shockingly, it takes about a thousand years for them to fully decompose. To tackle this issue, the Indian government took a proactive step in 2011 by introducing the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules. These rules have been updated in 2016, 2018, and 2021, emphasizing the importance of proper plastic pollution management.
Plastic Waste Rules (2011, Amended 2016):
- These rules in India lay down a framework for managing and handling plastic waste.
- They outline the responsibilities of plastic product producers, importers, and users, as well as local authorities.
- Producers and brand owners must register with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and take steps to reduce their products’ environmental impact.
- Local authorities are tasked with creating systems for plastic waste collection, sorting, storage, transportation, and processing. They are also responsible for raising public awareness about plastic waste management.
National Green Tribunal (NGT) Plastic Ban (2016):
- This ban, effective since 2016, prohibits certain single-use plastic items, including bags, cutlery, and straws, in specific regions of India.
Solid Waste Management Rules (2016):
- These rules establish a framework for managing solid waste in India.
- They cover waste segregation, collection, transport, and processing.
- Local authorities and citizens share responsibilities for managing solid waste.
Government Programs and Initiatives:
- India has launched various programs and initiatives to reduce plastic waste and promote recycling.
- Initiatives like the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” (Clean India Mission) and the “PlastIndia Foundation” focus on enhancing waste management infrastructure, boosting recycling rates, and lessening the environmental impact of plastic waste.
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