Keeping in mind its hazardous health and environmental effects, the Kerala state government has in a landmark step imposed a blanket ban on single-use plastic from January 1, 2020. Hope Kerala leads other states by example into a more sustainable and healthier environment! By Ritika Dixit
In a remarkable step towards environment welfare, Kerala State government has implemented a blanket ban on single-use plastic in the state from January 1, 2020, onwards. The decision was taken back in November 2019.
A blanket ban on single-use plastic means the sale, manufacture and storage of single-use plastics in the state are prohibited on a hard-and-fast basis.
Plastic bags used for healthcare purposes, cling film used to wrap food, plastic items kept for export, carry bags for pulses and grains and other food items, are the only form of plastic permitted to be in circulation in the state. Items that fall under the purview of the ban are single-use plastic carry bags, sheets, plates, cups, spoons, stirrers, straws, thermocol/styrofoam plates, bags, bowls, non-woven bags, flags, non-branded juice packets, water sachets, water bottles less than 100 ml, garbage bags and flex banners.
The move is an attempt to bring a complete halt to plastic in the state. People who are found guilty of violating the ban will be penalised under strict provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. First-time offenders would be fined Rs 10,000, second-time Rs 25,000 and a third violation would lead to a hefty fine of Rs 50,000, along with the cancellation of license.
Concerning the resentment against the ban which is witnessed among consumers and business owners, Kudumbashree, a self-help group network in the state, is manufacturing cloth bags on a massive scale, ranging from INR 5 to INR 50 and helping distribute it across homes as an alternative mechanism to plastic.