Sustainability for MSMEs: Minister of State for MSMEs Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma has said the MSME Ministry is implementing the Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) announced by the government in June this year to eliminate single-use plastic items and promote alternatives. The minister informed Parliament in a written reply to a question on awareness around plastic waste management and recycling technologies that MSME-Development and Facilitation Office (DFO) has conducted 51 awareness programmes/webinars while a core committee has also been set up by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to conduct training programmes for MSMEs on alternatives to single use plastic.
The committee comprises members from the Ministry of MSME, CPCB and Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering & Technology (CIPET). 14 workshops for MSMEs in collaboration with CPCB & CIPET and MSME-DFO have been organized so far across the country, Verma noted.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, on August 12, 2021, and announced the ban on manufacturing, importing, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified single-use plastic items with low utility and high littering potential, from July 1, 2022.
The list of banned items included earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic flags, ice-cream sticks, thermocol for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers, etc.
A number of MSMEs had earlier urged the government to either delay the ban or implement it in a phase-wise manner instead of a blanket ban.
The mass usage of single-use plastic has been for packaging or handling of goods because of its negligible price and ease of use while the equitable alternatives are either not available or quite costly in comparison to single-use plastic, traders’ body CAIT had said in a statement last month. It added that the single-use plastic industry has an annual turnover of more than Rs 60,000 crore and employs lakhs of people.