Plastic: Ban or No Ban?

June 10, 2016

With Government’s declaration of the evidence against harmful effects of PET packaging as insufficient, the ban on PET packaging of medicines and other products remains uncertain.

Till March 2015 the Government and industry shared common views regarding the ill effects of PET packaging on human health apart from environmental issues. But, the issue of PET packaging affecting human health has once again raised controversies after the National Green Tribunal took note of the Bhan Committee report issued in March 2016 which declared lack of evidence to prove leaching is caused by PET packaging which has serious ill effects on human health.

Two months later, in May 2016, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board and Director General of Health Services flagged the results of the tests conducted earlier by the government prior to the appointment of Bhan Committee and hold their view in contradiction to Ministry of Health. DTAB and DGHS are in favor of banning of Plastic and PET packaging of medicines. Plastic packaging of other consumer products like beverages, oils, liquors etc. remains unaddressed.

Besides the contradictory views on ban of PET packaging, state governments of Bihar, Himachal Pradesh Hyderabad and Sikkim have banned the use of plastic bottles, thermocol cups and similar disposable plastic items. On the other hand, the restrictions on import of Polymers like PP and PET and other plastic scrap into India are bothering the international suppliers of scrap plastic to India.