Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Thursday decided to ban single use plastic products from January one.
A decision in this regard was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
After considering the environmental and health issues related to mounting plastic waste, the government decided to ban the single-use-plastic products in the state from January 1, 2020, a government press release said.
Plastic carry bags and sheets, cooling films, plastic plates, cups, thermocol and Styrofoam-based fancy items and others have been banned.
Single-use plastic can be used only once before it is either thrown away or recycled and is mainly used by the food processing and food delivery, retailers for packaging and selling finished goods, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.
"Single-use plastic cups, plates, spoons, forks, straws, stirrers, bowls, plastic flags, water pouches, juice packs, pet bottles (under 300 ml), plastic garbage bags, PVC flex materials, plastic packets, among others have been banned," Vijayan said.
The government also decided to initiate legal action against those who defy the ban under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
District Collectors, Sub-Divisional Magistrates, Pollution Control Board-appointed officials are authorised to take action against the violators.
"The manufacturers, wholesale or retail dealers who violate the ban will have to pay a fine of Rs 10,000. In case of repeat offence, the fine amount will be Rs 25,000.
If it continues, the fine amount will be Rs 50,000 and the licence for the business will be cancelled," Vijayan said.
According to the Extended Producers Responsibility Plan, the Beverages Corporation, KeraFed, Milma and Kerala Water Authority will buy back the plastic bottles sold to the consumers.
The cabinet has also decided to strictly earmark five per cent of the land in the industrial parks, as per the solid waste management rules of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, for waste management and recycling.
The Industries Department has decided to aid the production units which develops eco-friendly bags as an alternative to plastic ones.
So far, 18 states have banned plastic bags, and Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh have also banned single-use plastic products.