The Directorate General of Shipping ordered to prohibit on board a large number of single-use plastic products including ice cream containers, hot dish cups, microwave dishes and potato chips bags, on Indian and foreign ships that are in Indian waters from January 1, 2020.

The decision has been taken the by Directorate General of Shipping following an appeal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 to “take the first big step” towards freeing India of single-use plastics. The decision is supposed to be in the larger interest of the public and to protect the marine ecosystem.

Items like bags, trays, containers, food packaging film, milk bottles, freezer bags, shampoo bottles, ice cream containers, bottles for water and other drinks, dispensing containers for cleaning fluid and biscuits trays are prohibited, including hot drink cups, insulated food packaging, protective packaging for fragile items, microwave dishes, ice cream tubs, potato chips bags and bottle caps.

Apart from this, the Directorate has also banned the use of single-use plastic cutlery, plates and cups, up to 10 litres of bottles for water and other drinks, garbage and shopping bags and dispensing containers for cleaning fluids which are less than 10 litres volume with immediate impact.

The Directorate has directed the authorities to ensure during surveys, inspection and audits of Indian ships that no single-use plastic is found or stored onboard any Indian ships. And, in case of repeated offence, it will be a case for detention.

Further, it said foreign ships intending to enter Indian waterways will have to declare single-use plastic items on board and no such item will be permitted to discharge at India ports.