Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021

Blog   wpadmin   August 31, 2021

Executive Summary:

      • This article throws light on the necessity for Plastic Waste Management Rules in India and
      • Provides a summary of the regulations that are now in place, and the modifications that have resulted from the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021.


Plastics are profoundly ingrained in our daily lives, right from supermarket bags and cutlery to water bottles and sandwich wrap. However, in our drive for convenience, we have gone too far, and we are failing to use plastics efficiently, squandering important resources and hurting the environment. Plastic overconsumption and garbage management are becoming a major problem, causing landfills to overflow, clogging waterways, and endangering marine habitats. This has a detrimental influence on industries essential to many economies, such as tourism, shipping, and fishing.

Need for Separate Plastic Waste Management Rules:

Plastic waste management, as in any other country, is a significant issue in India, particularly given the country’s unrelenting development in consumerism. Surprisingly, over 60% of all plastic trash created in India is recycled, while the remainder is dumped into the environment. The vast majority of this plastic, however, is recycled.

There was an idea among global countries that we should have a distinct set of regulations that deal only with plastic especially because plastic is becoming a growing nuisance.Plastic does not decompose, so it just breaks down into smaller bits, which end up in the river and then into the ocean. Oceans include fish, and this is how it becomes a part of the marine ecosystem, causing havoc such as environmental and human health issues.

As a result, plastic disposal has become a serious environmental hazard. Plastic carry bags, in particular, are the most significant contributors to trash. Every year, millions of plastic bags wind up in the environment via soil, water bodies, and watercourses, and it takes an average of 1000 years for them to disintegrate entirely.At this point, India need strong and strict waste management tools to significantly improve the situation.

Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016

The Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2016 are India’s most stringent laws against plastic use.The most important aspect of these laws is that plastic producers and retail establishments that utilize plastic as their major component have been accorded the ‘Extended Producer Responsibility i.e., they are legally required to follow the method of collecting back the plastic trash.

Since currently, there is no environmentally suitable alternative to plastic on the market, the country should focus on developing a system to handle plastic trash rather than talking about banning items or plastic entirely, which is not feasible in India at the moment.

Effectiveness of 2016 Rules

Despite the implementation of the Plastic Waste Management Laws in 2016, as well as the changes made two years later, many towns and cities are still unable to fulfill what these rules need for a variety of reasons.The regulations for managing plastic trash have been amended, but this is still a work in progress.In India, though we have some of the toughest laws in the world, execution is still inadequate, especially in the plastic waste industry. Hence for improvement in this sector new amendment to the rule has been introduced recently called as the draft Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2021.

The Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021

The Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021, released on August 12, 2021 by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC), has forced a few modifications in the country’s treatment of plastic waste.The modification has broadened the laws’ applicability to include brand owners, plastic waste processors (including recyclers and co-processors), and others.

Highlights :

  • The Union Ministry has suggested raising the thickness of virgin plastic carry bags from 50 millimeters to seventy five microns in thickness with effect from the 30th September, 2021and one hundred and twenty (120) microns in thickness with effect from the 31st December, 2022.
  • Per the new amendment, from July 1, 2022, a ban shall be imposed on the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of following singleuse plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities.
  • Manufacturing, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of specified single-use plastics. Plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, and thermocol (extended polystyrene) for decorating are examples of these.
  • Commodities manufactured of biodegradable plastic will be exempt from the prohibition.
  • The Government has allowed industry ten years from the date of notification to comply with any future bans on plastic commodities other than those specified in this notification.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board, in collaboration with state pollution control boards, will monitor the ban, detect offenders, and issue fines as outlined in the Environmental Protection Act of 1986.
  • Plastic packaging trash that is not covered by the phase out of specified single use plastic products must be collected and managed in an ecologically sustainable manner under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) of the Producer, importer, and Brand owner (PIBO), according to the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The Path Forward

  • Without any doubt, plastic is indeed a wonder commodity with applications ranging from extending the shelf life of foods to medical equipment and automobiles.
  • Brand owners, customers, recyclers, and regulatory agencies must all work together to ensure that we first properly calculate the entire quantity of plastic trash that we create.
  • The next stage would be to find areas where the usage of plastic might be reduced.
  • Next is, the brand owner and producer should attempt to comprehend the destinies that a plastic packaging material may encounter after its function of packing has been fulfilled.
  • Last but not least, as consumers, we should make sure that any plastic trash that leaves our homes is separated and not mixed with food waste.

Conclusion :

Plastic waste management necessitates effective understanding not just among those who create the plastic, but also among those who handle it. The new amendment rules of 2021 have tried to impose more restrictions for better management of plastic waste in the country. However, the effectiveness of this new amendment and whether it will be helpful in combatting the plastic menace will need to be evaluated in the long run.

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