Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022

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    In News 

    • The Union Environment Minister announced the notification of the new Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022

    Major Highlights 

    • The guidelines on EPR(Extended Producer Responsibility) coupled with the prohibition of identified single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, with effect from 1st July 2022.
      • EPR(Extended Producer Responsibility) means the responsibility of a producer for environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life.
      • In India, the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016-which is issued under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986- introduced the concept of EPR to manage plastics in India.
    • Classification of plastics: 
      • The new rules classify plastics into four categories:
        • Category 1 will include rigid plastic packaging
        • Category 2 will include flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets and covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags, plastic sachet or pouches.
        • Category 3 will include Multi-layered plastic packaging (at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic)
        •  Category 4 will include plastic sheet or like used for packaging as well as carry bags made of compostable plastics fall.
    • Recycling and reusing: 
      • The new regulations mandate recycling and reusing a certain percentage of plastic produced by manufacturers, importers and brand owners.
    • Details of recycling certificates: 
      • According to the new rules, the producers, importers and brand-owners shall have to provide the details of recycling certificates only from registered recyclers along with the details of quantity sent for end-of-life disposal, by June 30 of next financial year while filing annual returns on the online portal.
    • Centralised online portal : 
      • The government has also called for establishing a centralised online portal by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the registration as well as filing of annual returns by producers, importers and brand-owners, plastic waste processors of plastic packaging waste by March 31.
      • The centralised portal would act as the single point data repository with respect to orders and guidelines related to implementation of EPR for plastic packaging under Plastic Waste Management Rule, 2016.
    • Environmental compensation : 
      • It shall be levied based upon polluter pays principle, with respect to non-fulfilment of EPR targets by producers, importers and brand owners, for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environment pollution.
      • The funds collected shall be utilized for the collection, recycling and end of life disposal of uncollected plastic waste in an environmentally sound manner.
    • Setting up of a committee:
      • The government has announced the setting up of a committee which shall be constituted by the CPCB under chairpersonship of CPCB chairman, to recommend measures to the environment ministry for effective implementation of EPR, including amendments to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) guidelines.

    Significance 

    • It is an important step for reducing pollution caused due to littered plastic waste in the country.
    • It provides a framework to strengthen the circular economy of plastic packaging waste, promote the development of new alternatives to plastics and provide further next steps for moving towards sustainable plastic packaging by businesses. 
    • The EPR guidelines will give a boost for formalization and further development of the plastic waste management sector. 

    Other related Initiatives to Curb Plastic Waste

    • The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 : It clearly stipulates that urban local bodies (ULBs) should ban less than 50 micron thick plastic bags and not allow usage of recycled plastics for packing food, beverage or any other eatables.
    • The Rules also require that local bodies should provide separate collection, storage and processing of plastic waste in their areas.
    • Steps to strengthen  implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016
      • The States/UTs have been requested to constitute a Special Task Force for the elimination of single-use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
      •  A National Level Taskforce has also been constituted for taking coordinated efforts to eliminate identified single-use plastic items and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
    • India is a signatory to MARPOL (International Convention on Prevention of Marine Pollution).
    • The “India Plastic Challenge – Hackathon 2021 
      • It is a unique competition calling upon start-ups /entrepreneurs and students of   Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to develop innovative solutions to mitigate plastic pollution and develop alternatives to single-use plastics.
    • Swachh Bharat Mission
    • India Plastics Pact
    • Project REPLAN
    • Un-Plastic Collective
    • GoLitter Partnerships Project

    Way Ahead

    • Despite challenging conditions, India must not turn its backs on plastic pollution. 
      • It is vital for the government, and for the rest of the industry, to stay the course, cut the amount of plastic it uses and rapidly transition to a circular economy. 
    • Government ministries at the national and local levels must collaborate in the development, implementation and oversight of policies, which includes participation from industrial firms, non-governmental organisations and volunteer organisations. 
    • Plastics are inexpensive because they are made with substantially subsidised oil and may be produced at a lower cost, with fewer economic incentives to employ recycled plastics. Promoting alternative materials or reused and recycled plastics are necessary.

    Source:PIB