In a bid to tackle the threat of plastic waste in India, the government took a significant step towards banning the import of solid plastic waste into the country. It is to be noted that India generates 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste daily. Previously, such import to an extent was banned as India did not prevent it in special economic zones (SEZ).
“The country has now completely prohibited the import of solid plastic waste by amending the Hazardous Waste (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules on March 1,” an environment ministry official added in a statement.
He said the rules were revised keeping in mind the huge gap between waste generation and recycling capacity in the nation. It is also India’s vision to completely stop production of single-use plastic by the year 2022.
After being legally prohibited by China a few years ago, India comes out as one of the world’s largest importers of plastic waste.
Since there is no sufficient capacity of recycling of plastic waste, a large quantity of such hazardous waste remains uncollected, thereby leading to damage to soil and water bodies. As per a study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), around 10,376 tonnes (40%) out of the 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste per day remains uncollected across the nation.
The ministry made a provision where white category (i.e. practically non-polluting or very less polluting) of industries will have to give away hazardous wastes segregated in their units to authorised users, waste collectors or disposal facilities.
FYI, a white category of industries has 36 industrial sectors including air coolers, air-conditioners, biscuit making, metal caps. handloom and chalk making.
“It has been done keeping in consideration ‘ease of doing business’ and boosting ‘Make in India’ initiative by simplifying the procedures under the rules. while at the same time upholding the principles of sustainable development and ensuring minimal impact on the environment,” the ministry said.