From July this year, many common use-and-throw plastic products such as straws, stirrers, glasses and cutlery, made from single-use plastic are likely to cease to be in circulation in keeping with the central government’s strict rules to prohibit their manufacture and use.
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has already amended the Plastic Waste Management Rules and declared that no single-use plastic items with high littering potential will be in use from next month.
The Centre has already requested States and Union Territories to develop a comprehensive action plan for elimination of single-use plastics and set up institutional mechanisms to strengthen enforcement of the plastic waste management rules in the country.
Last year, the administration formed Divisional, District and ULB Level Plastic Waste Management Cells and District Level Task Force for elimination of Single Use Plastic (SUP) in Jammu and Kashmir.
Their terms of reference include effectively implementing the Action Plan on elimination of single use plastics and the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 in Jammu & Kashmir as well as to comply with and implement the decisions taken from time to time by the Special Task Force constituted for the purpose.
The District Level Special Task Force, being headed by Additional Deputy Commissioner, has been tasked with the implementation monitoring of the J&K level Comprehensive Action Plan for elimination of SUP in the respective District.
Precisely also, the task force has been tasked with the job to mobilize and build a strong public movement for elimination of SUP by ensuring wider public participation including educational institutions etc.
Besides, it is to encourage and promote manufacture and usage of Eco-friendly biodegradable substitutes for SUP and enforce the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
The rules so notified acknowledge the gravity of pollution caused by plastic articles of everyday use, particularly those that have utility just for a few minutes or hours.
The new rules have been made in consonance with the recommendations made by an expert group constituted by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals few years ago.
A National Level Taskforce has also been constituted by the Ministry for taking coordinated efforts to eliminate identified single use plastic items and effective implementation of the Rules.
Pollution due to single-use plastic items remains an environmental challenge and there is hoping that efforts culminate into elimination of this menace.