The ban was notified 6 months ago and covers disposable thermocol products
The Bihar government enforced a ban on production, import, storage and distribution of single-use plastic from December 14, 2021 midnight. The move comes after a ban on polythene to reduce plastic waste and pollution was enforced across the state.
Violation of the law will attract penalty, fine and even jail term under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, according to a senior official of Bihar’s environment, forest and climate change department.
The ban was notified six months ago and covers thermocol products like disposable glasses, plates, cups and cutlery, among other things. The ban was put in place a day after the end of the traditional winter marriage season when these products are used rampantly.
Single-use plastic products accumulate in the environment in large quantities and take hundreds of years to decompose, said Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) Chairman Ashok K Ghosh, recognising the ban as a “positive step much ahead of the plan to eliminate single-use plastic by the central government in the country”.
The consumers are not aware that these products degrade and become microplasts that enter food chains and continue to pollute the environment, said Ranjeev, an environmental activist.
The implementation of the ban will come under the scanner in the following days, especially since the ban on polythene bags enforced long ago is yet to curb the use of the product. Polythene bags are still found everywhere — at markets, residential areas and on the roadside.
Manufacturers, traders and distributors of single-use plastic products fear the ban will cause their businesses to crumble and push them into debt.
The ban on single-use plastic has been enforced even as the manufacturing or production of biodegradable plastic has not started in Bihar, said Bihar Plastic Industry Association leader Prem Kumar. “Manufacturing of biodegradable plastic will start by May 2022 in the state.”
At present about 60 tonnes of single-use plastic products are made every day in the state by 20 big manufacturing units and dozens of small units.
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