TN to ban use of plastic items from 2019

This is the second attempt to ban plastic in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa's efforts to get a bill passed in the Assembly faced stiff opposition.

Sixteen years after former chief minister J Jayalalithaa's failed attempt, the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday announced the ban on the use of plastic items, including non-biodegradable bags, from January 2019.

The announcement was made by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in the Assembly, coinciding with the World Environment Day. This year, the celebrations will be centred around the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

Palaniswami said the announcement was being made to protect the environment in the state and aimed towards gifting a “plastic-free” Tamil Nadu to future generations.

This is the second attempt to ban plastic in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa's efforts to get The Tamil Nadu Plastic Articles (Prohibition of Sale, Storage, Transport and Use) Bill passed in the Assembly faced stiff opposition. Bowing to demands from various quarters, Jayalalithaa had referred the Bill to a House Select Committee for further study, a report is yet to be submitted.

“Considering the damage caused by plastic, and to ensure this is not left behind for future generations, the government has decided to ban non-biodegradable plastic covers, plates, cups, water packets, straws and bags,” the chief minister told the Assembly.

However, Palansiwami said the ban would be exempted for plastic sachets used to pack milk, curd and oil, besides those used to wrap medical products and it was primarily on plastic carry bags, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic flags and small plastic sachets used in packaging water.

“The disposal of such use and thrown plastic material affects the flow of wastewater and drainage, and deeply affects the groundwater table. Moreover, the stagnant water leads to the production of mosquitoes and also causes flood during heavy rain. Air also gets polluted when the plastic is burnt,” Palaniswami said.

He said an expert committee constituted by Jayalalithaa had suggested a ban on plastic and encouraging banana leaf and other traditional forms of plates.

The proposed ban, the chief minister said, is being brought under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, to allow people to change over to using paper bags and other products made out of paper, banana leaf and betel nuts as substitutes to the plastic items.

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TN to ban use of plastic items from 2019

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