NEW DELHI: As PM Narendra Modi called for making India free from single-use plastic, experts said the Centre needs to bring in legislation for the packaging industry that constitutes 50 per cent of single-use plastic. Similar legislation in Europe has helped reduce the usage of single-use plastic.
Speaking from the Red Fort, Modi appealed to all to take the first step in this regard on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is abroad, promptly responded and said a massive public campaign will be launched.
The most common single-use plastics (use and throw) are cigarette butts, plastic drinking bottles, plastic bottle caps, food wrappers, sachets for packing tobacco, plastic grocery bags, plastic lids, straws and stirrers, other types of plastic bags, and foam takeaway containers.
The Centre is in process of preparing legislation to ban single-use plastic. More than 20 states have notified laws for a full or partial ban on single-use plastic. Maharashtra was the first states to ban single-use straws, plastic/styrofoam tea cups/containers.
Experts feel that the Centre should immediately bring in a law to check packaging industry as the products from the industry can be recycled.
“India does not have legislation for packaging industry while the products have grown in scale. You can easily ban plastic straws, cups and stirrers but the bulk of your problem will be solved by handling the packaging industry,” said Ravi Agarwal of Toxic Link.
“There is a need to fix Extended Producer Responsibility whereby producers are held liable or penalized for failing to collect the plastic produced by them. Two important things that need to be addressed are investment and legislation to deal with the problem,” he said.