Panel formed to define ‘single use plastic’

ST CORRESPONDENT
Friday, 4 January 2019

Dr Mashelkar has been made Chairman of the committee

PUNE: There has been ambiguity in the plastic ban announced by the State government, which led to the closure of plastic units. There were also environmental concerns over plastic waste management. 

Hence, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers has issued a notification through the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals to form an expert committee to define ‘Single Use Plastic’ and related issues. Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, President, Global Research Alliance, has been made the Chairman of the committee.

Vijay Habbu, a member of CM’s Special Task Force on plastic, said, “There was ambiguity after the State government banned plastic, which caused chaos among the stakeholders and institutions related to plastic. To put an end to such issues, the Central government has formed the expert committee, which will help to have one direction for all State governments towards the ban.”

When contacted, Dr Mashelkar said, “The committee will start its operations from January 14. Accordingly, details would be made public.”

The notification states: “The Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, under the allocation of business rules 1962, is concerned with the broad subject matters on entries relating to petrochemicals, plastic, including fabrication of plastic and moulded goods and planning, development and assistance to all industries dealt by the department. Therefore, keeping in view the subjects allocated, the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals constituted an expert committee to define the single use plastics and related issue.”

THE TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE COMMITTEE
- Assessment of the impact of the ban on various types of plastic 
- Baseline assessment to identify most problematic plastics as well as action plan to tackle them
- Study the steps taken by developed and emerging economies in addressing the issue of single use plastics and consider adoption of best practices with customisation to local conditions in the country
- To study the composition of municipal waste to analyse plastic products in the dumps
- To define and assess single use plastic and plastic products after careful assessment of their impact on environment, economy and society relating to Indian context
- To finalise the design and specifications of single use plastic and identify the items included in and excluded from the category of single use plastic 
-  Analyse the usage of single use plastics in the Indian context and to recommend usage in other applications keeping in view the local practices
- Consider exclusion of products getting into recycling stream from the definition of single use of plastic and also to identify single use plastics items that are deemed essential by their nature, which cannot be substituted or avoided
- To monitor the implementation of 10-steps recommended by UNEP to reduce plastic pollution
- To workout and recommend affordable and environment-friendly options with least carbon footprint, where single use plastic are banned
- To identify and engage with key stakeholders, including central government, state government, public sector undertakings, industry associations, NGOs and other related institutions in the exercising being undertaken by the committee

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