New Delhi: ‘A step towards sustainability, Kerala decides to ban the manufacturing, sale and storage of single-use plastic products,’ tweeted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today (November 22) as he shared the news of the state’s new green initiative on his social media. The decision to ban single-use plastic products was taken by the Kerala government on Thursday after considering the environmental and health issues caused by mounting plastic waste. The ban is set to come into force from January 1, 2020. As per the ban violators, be it manufacturers, wholesalers or small traders will be fined Rs 10,000 for the first time violation, Rs 25,000 for the second violation and Rs 50,000 along with closure of the business for the third time offense.
Kerala has decided to ban the manufacture, sale & storage of single use plastic products. The ban will come into force on 1st January 2020. Stringent action will be taken against violators. Plastic carry bags, irrespective of thickness, will come under this ban. https://t.co/exEnuJzCAM
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) November 22, 2019
An official press statement from the Chief Ministers Office said,
Single-use plastic cups, plates, spoons, forks, straws, stirrers, bowls, plastic flags, water pouches, juice packs, pet bottles (under 300 ml), plastic garbage bags, PVC flex materials, plastic packets, among others have been banned in Kerala. Stringent action will be taken against violators.
This is not the first time, the state has taken steps to go green, under the state’s Suchitwa Mission and Haritha Kerala Mission (Green Kerala Mission), the state had already issued various ‘Green Protocols’ wherein hotels were asked to stop the use of plastic straws, education board was asked to pass a mandate for students that they will only use fountain pen and not plastic pens, plastic carry bags up to a certain grade only were allowed and an attempt to spread awareness about the concept of ‘Green Weddings’ was undertaken, where the usage of plastic and other non-degradable articles including disposable glasses and plates and thermocol decorations were to be avoided.
But now for the first time a proper ban, bound by the law will come into effect in the state.
Plastic Items That Will Be Banned In Kerala
As per the ban, following items will be banned from January 1, 2020:
- All single-use plastic cups, plates, spoons, forks, straws, dishes and stirrers
- Plastic carry bag (regardless of thickness)
- Plastic sheets used to spread on tables
- Cooling film
- Thermocol and styrofoam used for decorations
- Paper cups, plates, bowl with a plastic coating
- Non-woven bags
- Plastic flags
- Plastic bunting
- Plastic water pouches
- Plastic juice packets
- PET bottles (below 300ml)
- Plastic garbage bags
- PVC flex materials
- Plastic packets
The government has also banned the use of flex boards in the state. All the items have been banned under the Prohibition Act, 1986.
What Plastic Items Will Be Allowed?
According to the plastic ban notification by the Kerala Government, few state-owned enterprises have been exempted from the ban. The plastic bottles and packets sold by Kerala Beverages Corporation, KeralaFed, Milma and Kerala Water Authority are exempted from this ban. But these enterprises have been asked to institute a buy back scheme for the plastic bottles they sell, as per the Extended Producers Responsibility Plan (a policy approach under which producers are given significant responsibility for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products) of the state government. Apart from this, plastics manufactured for export, plastics used in the healthcare industry, and materials made from compostable plastics (labelled ISO or ISO 17088: 2008) have been exempted from the ban.
The Kerala government has authorised district collectors, sub-divisional magistrates, pollution control board-appointed officials to take action against the violators and to make this ban a successful in the state.
Along with this, the Kerala government has also decided to strictly earmark five per cent of the land in the industrial parks, as per the solid waste management rules of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, for waste management and recycling. Moreover, the government has also decided to promote and aid businesses that develop eco-friendly bags as an alternative to plastic ones.
In India, so far, 18 states have already implemented the ban on plastic bags, while Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand have banned single-use plastic products. Now Kerala is the latest state to join the list of states that have banned single-use plastic.
Kerala is already known as a green state because of many Swachh initiatives taken by the state in the past, it is home to the first plastic-free district – Kannur and Alappuzha, a zero-landfill city. Soon, with this new green initiative, the state aims to become plastic-free state.