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Karnataka bans use of non-essential plastics (Courtesy - The Hindu)

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The government is confident of tackling garbage menace across the State by next week, particularly in Bengaluru, by banning the use of plastics in non-essential items — from takeaway containers to banners and flexes.

On Thursday, the State Cabinet approved the final draft notification on banning utilisation of non-essential plastics. Officials of the Department of Forests, Environment and Ecology, who drafted the notification, believe that this will spur the use of eco-friendly materials, and reduce the amount of plastics in garbage dumps.

A State Cabinet meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, took the decision to ban the manufacture, storage, sale, distribution, and use of plastic carry bags, irrespective of their thickness, according to sources in the State Secretariat. This goes beyond the 2011 notification that banned plastic below 40 microns, and instead targets products where eco-friendly alternatives were available.

With enforcement of the ban involving multiple departments, officials said a workshop will be conducted for all stakeholders to create awareness.

The approve notification is incidentally far more expansive than a draft notification that was put up for objections in October. Additions include thermocol, micro-beads and even plastic cutlery — which were suggestions given by activists and citizens, said officials, who drafted the law. The committee formed to oversee public response had noted that while the objections were primarily from the plastic industry, much of the general public had sought for a more comprehensive ban. “We expect the approved notification to come to us in the next few days. The gazette notification will be issued immediately and it will be implemented by next week,” said Ramachandra, Secretary of the department. The ban is expected to reduce non-degradable plastic content in municipal waste by over a third. “From using jute to encouraging the use of reusable steel and glass cutlery, there is always an alternative for plastic,” he said.




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