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Vikash Sharma

The Centre is all set to impose a ban on the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified single use plastic items across the country from July 1, 2022.

This is in accordance with the clarion call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to phase out single use plastic items by 2022,

The list of banned items includes - ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice- cream sticks, polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners of less than 100 micron, stirrers.

National and state level control rooms will be set up and special enforcement teams will check illegal manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of banned single use plastic items. States and Union Territories have been asked to set up border check points to stop inter-state movement of any banned single use plastic items.

The Odisha government had imposed a ban on single use plastic items on October 2, 2019. Initially, the ban came into effect in urban and later was extended to all rural pockets of the state. However, even after three years a complete check on single use plastic items has not been possible.

Though raids are launched by enforcement agencies including the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), it has so far failed to ensure a complete ban. The traders as well the customers blame the State government for not able to take stern action for the implementation of the norm. They demand concrete measures to plug such loopholes and crackdown on the manfucaturing companies and a complete stoppage of production.

“To eradicate plastic, we need to take stern action as already a lot of awareness drive has been launched,” said environmentalist, Jaikrushna Panigrahi.

Purnachandra Sahu, a trader said, “If the enforcement authorities take steps to check production, then the problem would not arise. Due to easy availaibility, plastic is available in markets and consumers are using it.”

Rajkumar Sahu, a consumer said, “We usually carry bags and we need polythene occasionally. The government should act on manufacturing units instead of crackdown on consumers.”

BMC Mayor Sulochana Das, on the other hand said, crackdown and enforcement drives are being launched but the people are not getting aware. “We had recently launched drive and a decision on penalty was taken. But as people are not aware, we are giving time,” said Das.

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