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Central Pollution Control Board is set to take measures to reduce the supply of raw materials to enforce a ban on identified single-use plastic items by 30th June 2022, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said on Saturday.

This comes despite MSMEs seeking to delay the ban on single-use plastic by a year on grounds that they saying they need more time to switch to alternatives such as biodegradable paper.

“CPCB’s multi-pronged approach as part of its Comprehensive Action Plan encompasses measures to reduce the supply of raw materials, demand-side measures to reduce plastic demand, enabling measures to promote alternatives to SUP, “ Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change stated.

Plastic items that will be banned from the beginning of July 2022 include earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, and polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plates, cups, glasses among others.

As per the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, there is a complete ban on sachets using plastic material used for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala.

As per the Amended Rules, 2021, the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of carry bags made of virgin or recycled plastic less than seventy- five microns has been banned with effect from 30th September, 2021 as opposed to fifty microns recommended earlier under PWM Rules, 2016.

MSMEs had warned that the ban could result in the closure of swab manufacturing in India, threatening around 3,000 MSMEs and 15,000 jobs. The ban will force MSMEs to import rolled paper sticks at high costs, which will jeopardize MSMEs in the healthcare sector, the forum said.

“The paper required for the manufacturing of the rolled paper sticks is unavailable in India and has to be imported from Germany and other developed nations as none of the paper making companies from India are equipped or able to manufacture the paper quality required for making paper rolled sticks for swabs,“ the MSMEs said in a letter to the ministry of MSME, commerce and environment.

However the government added that in order to support the MSMEs, CPCB in association with Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering & Technology (CIPET) is organizing Workshops for MSMEs across the country to transition to alternatives to single use plastic.

“Three such Workshops have been held at Ranchi, Guwahati & Madurai. Development of alternatives to petro based plastics is also being pursued in collaboration leading technical institutions like IISc and CIPET," Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change added.

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