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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.