The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had constituted an Expert Committee (EC) comprising of the representatives of the CPCB, DGHS and FSSAI, which was the nodal agency, to examine the regulatory provisions on the restriction of plastic packaging and related issues. The EC has now submitted its report to the NGT with recommendations and responsibilities of various stakeholders in reducing the usage of plastics and also in managing plastic waste.
The EC in its report has recommended a systematic plan of action for different stakeholders and one of them pertains to the final consumers/users of plastic packaged articles and food stuff with the following responsibilities:
- Eliminate/ ban single use plastics: Eliminate and prohibit the usage of single serve/ use plastics within their ecosystems by setting an example and create awareness among their group of people regarding plastic pollution and so to take this across to the masses.
- Substitutes to plastics: Encourage the use of reusable and recyclable environment friendly alternatives such as jute and cloth bags, bamboo and wooden cutlery, leaf -based plants, glass and metal containers etc.
- Improved litter management: education on collection of plastic waste, segregation of dry and wet waste and practices to reduce/ reuse and to efficiently aid recycling of packaging waste so as to keep up with the growing demand to reduce plastic pollution.
- Better plastic disposal: Initiatives are to be taken up to dispose plastic waste by forming groups/ clusters for collection, segregation, transportation, storage and to set up/identify energy recovering systems for processing/ recycling of the plastic waste either on its own or by engaging some agencies.
In view of the above-mentioned recommendations of the EC, which have been accepted by the National Green Tribunal, the FSSAI has requested the Food Safety Commissioners to organise consumer awareness programmes amongst the public, establishments, agencies, institutions, organisations including government/ non-government, schools and university campuses, E-commerce groups, corporate campuses, hotels, marriage banquet and community halls to propagate these recommendations so that all can work towards reducing the use of plastic. The Food Safety Commissioners must also take this up with the local municipal bodies.
The FSSAI has requested the Food Safety officers to take appropriate action on these recommendations and to submit the progress report for the same to the FSSAI by 20 January, 2020 so that they may then apprise the National Green Tribunal accordingly.