India has prohibited the import of plastic waste into the country, including in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and by Export Oriented Units (EOU).
The decision comes a year after China, the world’s biggest plastic scrap importer stopped import from western countries and southeast Asian countries becoming a major hub of scrap plastic recycling. India is among the world’s top 10 plastic scrap importers and the official figures show that plastic imports from 50 countries stood at Rs 306 crore in 2016-17.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change amended the amended the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 in order to strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of hazardous waste in the country.
A statement issued by the ministry said that the amendment has been done keeping into consideration the “Ease of Doing Business” and boosting “Make in India” initiative by simplifying the procedures under the Rules. The ministry said, ‘Solid plastic waste has been prohibited from import into the country including in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and by Export Oriented Units (EOU)’.
Experts feel that the amendment should have happened long ago. Satish Sinha, associate director at non-profit Toxics Link, said after China banned the import of plastic scrap early 2018, there were an apprehension of increase in imports to Asian countries as the US and European countries don’t have enough capacity to recycle plastic.