"For 200 years we've been conquering Nature.  Now we're beating it to death.  "

Ban on non-biodegradable plastic in Karnataka

Bill proposing amendment to the Karnataka Plastic Rules Act will be tabled in Assembly The government is set to ban the production of non bio-degradable plastic in the State. A Bill to amend Karnataka Plastic Rules in this regard is likely to come up for discussion in the coming Assembly session. According to Secretary of Environment Kanwarpal, the draft Bill has been prepared and will be tabled in the Legislature after securing the nod from the government. The existing rules prohibit manufacture of plastic less than 20 micron (one micron is one millionth of a metre) thickness. The thicker the plastic, the better the chances of recycling it. The Secretary said that once the Bill is passed, all plastic manufacturing units have to switch over to production of bio-degradable plastic. Many states and National Capital Territory of Delhi have brought in similar laws to halt the production and use of non bio-degradable plastic. Bio-degradable plastic, as the name itself suggests, decomposes in nature with the active role of micro organisms - bacteria, fungi, algae. Corn starch is widely used as an additive to make plastic bio-degradable. As starch is an organic component, it decays when it comes in contact with organisms in nature, and makes the material porous. However, the life of the plastic varies with its thickness. There is no difference in the carrying capacity of the bio-degradable plastic. A major disadvantage with the use of non-bio-degradable plastic is that it blocks the flow of water in drains. The problem does not arise if the plastic is bio-degradable; after a few days in the water, it becomes porous and allows water to flow through it. K M Lingaraju, senior environment officer with the Karnataka Pollution Control Board, said the bio-degradable plastic can be used for manufacturing carry bags, cups, plates. “Production of bio-degradable plastic may require 20 pc more investment than that required for manufacturing non bio-degradable plastic,” he revealed, opining that the industrialists have to change the course of production. Bangalore City generates about 3,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste which includes 40 tonnes of plastic waste, every day. 1,600 tonnes of plastic waste has been utilised for laying roads of 1,000 kms. BBMP is the only city agency in the country which has taken up using plastic waste for roads seriously. If other corporations across the country follow the Palike, the challenge posed by use of plastic can be countered considerably.