[Answered] What are the directions issued by the center regarding the ban on single-use plastic? Why is single-use plastic being banned in India?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some points related to the directions issued by the center regarding the ban on single-use plastic. Also write some reasons why single-use plastic is being banned in India.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Single-use plastic refers to plastic items that are used once and discarded. Single-use plastic (SUP) has among the highest shares of plastic manufactured and used- from packaging of items, to bottles, polythene bags, food packaging etc. It accounts for a third of all plastic produced globally, with 98% manufactured from fossil fuels.

Following directions are issued by the center regarding the ban on single-use plastic:

  • The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities shall be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022.
  • From December, the ban will be extended to polythene bags under 120 microns.
  • While manufacturers can use the same machine for 50- and 75-micron bags, the machinery will need to be upgraded for 120 microns.
  • On the demand side, directions have been issued to E-commerce companies, leading single use plastic sellers/users, and plastic raw material manufacturers with respect to phasing out of identified single use plastic items.
  • To curb the supply of identified items, directions have been issued at national, state and local level. For example, all leading petrochemical industries to not supply plastic raw materials to the industries engaged in banned SUP production.

Reasons:

  • Pollution:  Plastic bags pollute the land and water, since they are lightweight, plastic materials can travel long distances by wind and water.
  • Non-renewable: When plastic remains in the environment for long periods of time and does not decay, it turns into microplastics – first entering our food sources and then the human body.
  • Energy intensive: Production of plastic material is very energy intensive. They require a lot of water for their production.
  • Threat to aquatic life: Being non-recyclable, plastic bags end up in the oceans. While they reach, they break up into tiny little pieces and are consumed by wildlife. Thereby leading to health issues or even death. Many animals also get entangled or trapped in plastic bags.
  • Harmful to human health: Toxic chemicals from plastic bags can damage the blood and tissues. Frequent exposures can lead to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, hormone changes, endocrine disruption and other serious ailments.

While the production model of plastic is very huge and uncontrollable, the numbers of recycling plants are very less. Thus a ban on single-use plastic would help. Government should educate the public and trade bodies to achieve the benefits of the ban.

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