UDHD secretary called for press conference on single-use plastic SUP ban
Gangtok, Jul 08 (DPI): The Secretary of Urban Development Department, Shri MT Sherpa has called a press conference regarding the ban on single-use plastic items (SUPs) at the conference hall of Gangtok Smart City Development Limited, Kisaan Bazaar in Gangtok today.
Urban Development Secretary Shri MT Sherpa highlighted the harmful effects of single-use plastics which pose a danger to the environment. He said that although single-use plastic products are convenient thanks to their disposable culture, they cause irreversible damage to the environment as it takes thousands of years for plastic bags to decompose, leaving behind chemicals and microplastics. With only 9% of plastics being recycled, tackling pollution caused by SUPs has become an important environmental concern for all nations, he added.
He said single-use plastics have had a negative impact on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, with SUPs contributing a significant amount of marine debris. An estimated 150 million tons of plastic waste floats in the waters, harming species and altering the aquamarine ecosystem while causing adverse effects on the human food chain and human health.
The Secretary informed that following instruction from the Union Department of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change, the State Government has banned the use of single-use plastic items that have been chosen on the basis of three criteria – low utility, high litter potential and availability of alternatives. These items include headphones with plastic sticks, plastic balloon sticks, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plates, cups, glasses , cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrap or wrap foil around candy boxes, invitation cards and cigarette packs, plastic or PVC streamers under 100 microns and stirrers.
He listed various state action plans undertaken by the state government to enforce the ban on SUPs in the state, including prohibiting the delivery of any goods or materials purchased in packages. plastic or plastic bags and a ban on the sale and use of plastics with a thickness of less than 50 microns and SUP items in all their forms (carry bags, pouches, cups, plates, spoons, straws and other plastic use and throw items). He added that one of the bold initiatives of the state government undertaken earlier this year is the ban on the sale of plastic water bottles with a capacity of 2 liters and less.
He further added that brand owners and local producers of plastic waste will work on how to collect their plastic waste under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and prepare an action plan in consultation with the SPCB/CPCB. He also informed about the application developed by the SPCB for the SUP public grievance and compliance monitoring portal, in which the public can report any event of non-compliance with the ban on the use of the SUP. The UDD has also notified the project management unit, Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) as the state-level control room to monitor the implementation of the single-use plastic ban which will operate on days working hours from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., he added. .
The Secretary stressed the importance of the active participation of local urban bodies and Gram Panchayats in raising awareness of the harmful effects of SUPs in order to phase out the long-term environmental risks of plastics. He informed that the UDD has launched massive publicity on the same through jingles, store-to-store tours, banners, animated video clippings, newspapers, etc., to ensure compliance with the ban SUPs.
He urged all members of civil society to actively participate in the liberation of the state and the nation as a whole from single-use plastic to reduce its harmful effects on the environment by taking note of its use of plastic and by accommodating various other available alternatives that are eco-friendly.