Degradable, Biodegradable and Compostable Plastic: NGT Bans Use of Non-Biodegradable Plastic Bags (Download PDF)

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed an ban on use of non-biodegradable plastic bags less than 50 microns in the entire national capital Delhi with a fine of ₹ 5,000 on possession of non-biodegradable plastic bags less than 50 microns

Biodegradable vs Nonbiodegradable Bags

Understanding Degradable, Biodegradable and Compostable Plastic (Important)

  • Degradable Plastic: Degradable just means it can be broken down. Technically, all plastic is degradable plastic, as it can be mechanically broken down.
  • Biodegradable Plastic. Biodegradable plastic can be digested- carbon atoms in the chains of the polymer can be broken apart and create other organic molecules. Thus, it can be broken down by the metabolism of microorganisms.
  • Compostable Plastic. Compostable plastic not only it biodegrades, but it also will degrade within a certain amount of time, under certain conditions. Many types of bioplastic will break down “eventually” , but if biodegradable plastic completely biodegrades fast enough in a certain type of environment, then it can be labelled “compostable.”

NGT Order

  • Ordered Delhi government to seize stock of the banned plastic bags within a week
  • Assked Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Delhi Government to file an affidavit on steps taken to implement the ban.
  • Imposed an environment compensation of ₹ 10,000 on vegetable vendors and slaughter houses for throwing garbage in public places.

Plastic Waste

  • Non-biodegradable plastic waste one of the major source of environmental pollution
  • doesn՚t decay naturally.
  • Bags less than 50 microns thick have zero reusable value
  • They choke drains, water-bodies and load already-exhausted landfill sites, and are eaten by cattle causing death due to choking.
  • Market share of plastic bags less than 50 microns not more than 25 % .
  • Mostly made by unregistered units and are sold as cheaper products.

Earlier Orders and Rules

  • Garbage bags used at homes are above 50 microns- Their use and manufacturing already banned under the Plastic Management Handling Rules, 2016.
  • The NGT in 2017 banned the use of disposable plastic in Delhi and NCR with effect from January 1,2017 directing the city government to reduce dumped waste.

- Published/Last Modified on: September 2, 2017

Environment/Ecology

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