About two months after the buzz about a national ban on single-use plastics made headlines, the government has come up with the semblance of a definition for ‘single-use plastic’ and a time-frame for phasing it out. On November 22, replying to a question by MPs Pasunoori Dayakar of TRS and Venkatesh Nethaborlakunta of the Congress, minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar, without mentioning microns or what the plastic is used for, seemingly kicked the can down the road. “The trends of using plastic in day-to-day life became so fast that most of the plastic produced is designed to be thrown away after being used only once. This type of plastic, which is commonly used for packaging, carrying or dispensing the commodities, and include items intended to be used only once before they are discarded, can be termed as ‘single-use plastic’ for ease of understanding,” he said.
The broad definition aside, Javadekar did mention that an increased demand by consumers and increasing production to match it has resulted in a situation “where the existing waste management system has to be strengthened to make the country free of single-use plastic.” The government also said it was planning on a phase-wise ban aimed at eradicating use by 2022.