Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has launched the ‘Meendum Manjappai’ scheme to promote the use of cloth bags by the public and discourage the use of plastic bags. This awareness campaign on using ‘yellow’ cloth bag or ‘manjapai’ as it is called in Tamil, is aimed at encouraging the people to return to the use of this eco-friendly bag and discard the plastic bags. The state government had enforced a ban on the production, use, storage, distribution, transportation or sale of 14 types of plastics with effect from January 1, 2019.
A government committee has identified the single-use plastic (SUP) items to be banned based on an index of their utility and environmental impact. It has proposed a three-stage ban:
- The first category of SUP items proposed to be phased out are plastic sticks used in balloons, flags, candy, ice cream and earbuds, and thermocol that is used in decorations.
- The second category proposed to be banned from July 1, 2022, includes items such as plates, cups, glasses and cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays; wrapping and packing films used in sweet boxes; invitation cards; cigarette packets; stirrers and plastic banners that are less than 100 microns in thickness.
- The third category of prohibition is for non-woven bags below 240 microns in thickness. This is proposed to start from September next year.