Now, no more free plastic carry bags

The Central government on Monday notified the plastic waste (management and handling) rules, 2011, that stipulated “no carry bags shall be made available free of cost to consumers.” The cost of individual carry bag, however, would be deduced by the local municipality.

The new rules, devised by the Union Environment Ministry with the intention of getting rid of plastics chocking drains and water-bodies, will replace the recycled plastics manufacture and usage rules, 1999, which was amended four years later.

Besides discouraging the consumers, the new rule bans using plastic materials in sachets for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala. Municipal authorities have been advised to constructively engage rag-pickers to isolate plastic waste from garbage.

Foodstuffs, too, will not be allowed to be packed in recycled plastics or compostable plastics as per the new law. “It is impractical and undesirable to impose a blanket ban on the use of plastic all over the country. The real challenge is to improve municipal solid waste management systems,” said Union Minister Jairam Ramesh.

Plastic bags shall either be white or can be made only with those pigments and colours, approved in the Bureau of Indian Standards. The bags should not be less than 40 microns in thickness whereas under the earlier rules, the minimum thickness was 20 microns. With several states allowing plastic bags of various minimum thickness, it is now expected that 40 microns norms will become the uniform standard to be followed across the country.

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