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Centre widens import ban of plastic waste

Date: 16-10-2019
Subject: Centre widens import ban of plastic waste
NEW DELHI: Amid reports of how private recyclers are slyly bringing plastic waste into the country in the form of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) flakes and lumps, the Centre has further tightened the rule by bringing clarity in the import ban order which will be applicable for all kinds of plastic waste in all forms. 

The companies preferred import of plastic flakes and lumps as they found it cheaper compared to collection and recycling of locally generated plastic waste. 

The expanded ban order was issued on October 3 when the environment ministry clarified its March 1 order saying the previous order, banning import, was meant for all kinds of solid plastic waste - be it flakes, lumps or any other form which is actually originated from plastic waste. 

The move will help control the plastic pollution as the recyclers now won't be able to import plastic waste in any form. It will also push them to go for collection and recycling of domestically generated plastic waste - key steps to deal with plastic waste in the country where 40% of the total plastic waste generated per day remain uncollected and dumped into landfills and oceans. 

The ministry had swung into action after environmentalists and NGOs led by the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch brought it to the notice of the environment minister Prakash Javadekar, stating how Indian recyclers and private companies continued to import plastic waste despite the ban order came into force from September 1. 

"Globally, PET is the most recycled plastic and the current rate of PET bottles  recycling in India is more than 80%. The plastic flakes import ban will compel the importers and recyclers to procure the raw material (plastic waste) locally," Vinod Shukla, President of the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch said while welcoming the move to ban import of plastic flakes/lumps as well. 

Shukla, nephew of the RSS ideologue late Deendayal Upadhayay, said the move would result in a significant increase in the collection and recycling of used PET bottles and ensure job security for 40 lakh ragpickers. 

Data of the plastic waste import, compiled by the Manch, shows that Indian recyclers had imported 99,545 tonnes of plastic flakes and 21,801 tonnes of lumps from different countries including USA, UK, France, Japan, Spain, Canada, Germany, Pakistan and Bangladesh among others during April, 2018-February, 2019 period. 

It noted that nearly 55,000 tonnes (46%) out of total 1,21,339 tonnes of plastic flakes and lumps were imported from Pakistan and Bangladesh combined. 

Flagging such import, Shukla said, "This practice was also proving to be counter-productive to government's efforts in strengthening the collection and recycling of plastic waste in our country". 

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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