Committee to define ‘single-use of plastic’

Neha Basudkar
Saturday, 23 February 2019

“Defining single-use plastic is very complicated, but the problem of single-use plastic and its definition can be solved if we follow the measures taken by developed countries,” said Swaminathan Sivaram

PUNE: “Defining single-use plastic is very complicated, but the problem of single-use plastic and its definition can be solved if we follow the measures taken by developed countries,” said Swaminathan Sivaram, Senior Scientist at New Delhi’s Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and Honorary Professor at city-based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, while talking with Sakal Times.

The first official meeting of the expert committee formed by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers to define ‘single use of plastics’ will be scheduled next week, informed Sivaram. According to Sivaram who is also a member of the committee, the country can follow the footsteps of Europe where they have phased out 10 types of plastics and have come up with its alternative. 

According to the European Commission, all these items represent 70 per cent of marine litter locally. Expanding around the world, that number jumps up to 85 per cent. Estimates show that with these new rules, Europe can cut down on 3.4 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and consumers will save around $7.65 billion.

Sivaram further shared that, “According to his opinion, we should follow the footsteps of European Commission by phasing out 10 single-use plastic items of the country only after coming up with their alternatives. A timeline can be given to analyse whether the alternatives, which are being given, is feasible to people or not. And after that again the process should be repeated.”

Nikhil Rathi, Secretary of Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers Association, said, “It is really very complicated to define what single use plastic is. Also if plastic items are thought to be phased out, the plastic industry will suffer, but the time should be given so that the manufacturer could look into replacing his venture. The alternatives should be thought on feasibility and its economic factor.”

WHAT THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION HAS DONE?
- To help reduce marine pollution, the European Commission has banned 10 different plastic products, including common drink cups and food containers, along with cotton buds, eating utensils, plates, straws, drink stirrers and balloon sticks. 
- Europeans have already successfully limited their use of plastic bags, so the parliament is turning their focus to other single-use items. There are affordable alternatives available so single-use plastic has not been permitted to use. 
- The commission wants to have plastic producers to pay for waste management they ultimately create.

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