The Kerala High Court on Tuesday set aside the state government’s rule to ban plastic bags weighing less than 60 grams per square metre, PTI reported. The Kerala government had issued the order in January last year, following which several traders and merchant bodies had challenged the decision.

On Monday, Justice N Nagaresh held that the Kerala government does not have the authority to impose such a ban, adding that such a step could only be taken by the central government, reported the Hindustan Times.

Last year, the Centre had prohibited the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of several single-use plastic items from July 1, 2022. Plastic carry bags measuring less than 75 microns were banned in September, while plastic carry bags with thicknesses less than 120 microns were prohibited from December 31 onwards.

Tuesday’s verdict was welcomed by traders and merchant bodies, who urged the state government to provide an alternative to plastic bags.

“We have no special love for plastics,” Kerala Vyapari Vyavasaya Ekopana Samity leader SS Manoj told the Hindustan Times. “Plastic goods worth crores of rupees were seized and heavy fines were imposed. Now the state government is bound to return those fines.”

India generates approximately 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste per year. This figure is based on the Central Pollution Control Board’s projection that 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste – equivalent to 1,030 truckloads at 25 tonnes per truck – is generated in the country every day.

Of this, 15,384 tonnes of plastic waste or nearly 60% is collected and recycled while the remaining 10,556 tonnes remain uncollected and littered in the environment, former Union minister Prakash Javadekar had told the Lok Sabha in November 2019.

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