Milk and water no more in plastic covers. Kerala bans single-use plastic from New Year


Thiruvananthapuram: The manufacture, sale and storage of one-time use plastic items will be banned in Kerala from January 1, 2020. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting here on Thursday.

The prohibition has been imposed on the basis of the recommendations of the expert committee appointed to suggest ways to reduce plastic waste. “The decision has been made in the wake of the realisation that abandoned plastic materials growing into a major environmental and health hazard,” a statement from the Chief Minister's Office said.

Here are the items that have been banned: plastic carry bag, table-top plastic sheet, cooling film, use-and-throw cups, plates, spoons and forks, ornamental items made using styrofoam and thermocool, stirrers, paper cups with plastic coating, non-woven bags, plastic flags, plastic bunting, plastic water pouches, plastic juice packets, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles for drinking (below 300 ml), plastic garbage bags, PVC flex materials, and plastic packets.

Here are the exempted items: plastic for export purposes, plastic used in pharma industry, materials made of compostable or biodegradable plastics (those with IS or ISO 17088:2008 label).

Severe action will be taken against violators under Environment Protection Act, 1986. Those empowered to take action are: collectors, sub-divisional magistrates, Pollution Control Board officials, secretaries of local bodies, and officials deputed by the Centre under the 1986 Act.

A fine of Rs 10,000 will be slapped on manufacturers, wholesalers and small traders who defy the ban. If the ban is violated for a second time, the fine will be Rs 25,000. A third violation will invite closure and a fine of 50,000.

As per the Extended Producers' Responsibility Plan, Beverages Corporation, Kerafed, Milma and Kerala Water Authority are already obliged to buy back the plastic bottles and covers from consumers.

Under the Solid Waste Management Rules of the Ministry of Environment and Forest, five per cent of land in industrial parks should be set apart for waste processing and recycling. This will be enforced strictly.

The Industries Department will introduce incentive schemes to encourage companies that manufacture environment-friendly bags.

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