- In a bid to fight plastic waste import, the government has issued a rule to prohibit plastic waste imports to SEZs and EOUs.
- The government issued an order banning plastic imports in Special Economic Zones and Export Oriented Units.
- The order was issued under Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Amendment Rules, 2019.
- India banned import of plastic wastes in 2015.
- However, following an amendment in 2016, plastic waste imports were allowed in SEZs and EOUs.
- This move substantially increased plastic imports in the last couple of years in the country.
In brief: Ban on plastic waste import
Plastic imports: Global Trends
- Globally, plastic wastes from developed countries find their way to developing countries as they do not recycle their plastic waste on their own.
- China was a leading importer of plastic waste until recently when it banned the import of plastic waste.
- After Chinese ban, South East Asia is emerging as the global hub of plastic waste recycler including Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam etc.
- India is also emerging as the leading plastic waste importer of plastic waste in the aftermath of the Chinese ban.
Plastic imports: Indian Scenario
- India was the 10th largest importer of plastic waste in the world until Chinese ban.
- Now the plastic waste imports especially PET bottles have substantially increased in the last few years.
- This is because India recycles almost 90% of all the PET bottles generated domestically.
- In 2016-17 plastic waste imports was 12,000 million tonnes.
- This increased to 48,000 million tonnes in 2017-18.
- In first 3 months of 2018-19, India has already imported 25,000 million tonnes
Reasons for increase
- Increase in plastic waste is attributed to
- Chinese ban on plastic waste imports
- As a result increasing plastic waste imports from China, Italy, Japan and Malawi.
Plastic waste import ban
- India banned plastic import in 2015.
- This was done for 2 reasons:
- Inability to recycle large domestic plastic waste already generated
- In order to incentivize the domestic plastic recycling
- However, plastic imports were allowed in SEZs and EOUs.
- The new order completely bans import of plastic waste including SEZ and EOU.
Additional information: Domestic plastic waste
- India generates about 26000 tonnes of plastic waste every day.
- The level of recycling of plastic waste is abysmally low with only 56% of plastic waste generated is recycled.
- The main reasons are
- Inefficient waste segregation
- Inadequate collection. (40% goes uncollected)