Chennai: On the world environment day, the Tamil Nadu government announced a ban on plastics in the state with effect from January next year.
The ban is on bags, plates, cups, straws, water packets, among others that are made of non bio-degradable plastics. While it excludes milk packets, curd, oil, medicines and other essential items, the manufacture, sales, storage and usage of plastics would be banned.
Chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said in the Tamil Nadu state assembly on Tuesday that the announcement is based on the recommendations of an expert committee set up by late chief minister J. Jayalalithaa.
In 2002, the state government had brought in a Tamil Nadu Plastic Articles (Prohibition of Sale, Storage, Transport and Use) Bill which banned the use of plastics under 20 microns thick. Followed by this, in 2011 the Plastic (Manufacture, Use and Waste Management) Rules was implemented, which banned use of plastic under 40 microns thick.
Palaniswami said that the disposal of plastic materials has affected the ground water table, harmed the animals and damaged the environment.
He also added: “Plastic cannot be disposed and hence, it pollutes the air, water and the environment. Keeping in mind the harmful effects of plastic, it will be banned from 1 January, 2019."
The chief minister mentioned that the people of the state and the manufacturers should take efforts to curb the use of plastic and should switch over to paper and cloth bags as an alternative, before January.
He also highlighted the need for people’s participation was important like the earlier rainwater harvesting scheme introduced by Jayalalithaa which had resulted in a success, and had led to better groundwater resources. “In a similar way, with the cooperation and contribution of all, let us gift a plastic-free Tamil Nadu for the future generations of the state," Palaniswami added.