Come January 1, and Indian ships will prohibit on board a large number of single-use plastic products, including ice cream containers, hot dish cups, microwave dishes and potato chips bags.
The decision has been taken in larger public interest by the 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.
Not only a large number of single-use plastics will be prohibited to be used on board Indian ships but will also be banned in foreign ships when in Indian waters.
The Directorate General of Shipping has come out with an order prohibiting a large number of single-use plastics in Indian ships and foreign ships in Indian waters from January 2, 2020.
The list of items contain 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.
Items prohibited also include hot drink cups, insulated food packaging, protective packaging for fragile items, microwave dishes, ice cream tubs, potato chips bags and bottle caps.
Besides, the Directorate has banned 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.
It has directed authorities to "ensure during surveys, inspection and audit of Indian ships that single-use plastics are not found used/stored on board any Indian ship" and added that in case of non compliance and repeated offence it will be a case for detention.
It also said that foreign ships intending to enter Indian waters will have to declare single use plastic items on-board and no such items will be discharged at Indian ports.
Quoting international reports it said most common finds during international coastal cleanups are, in order of magnitude - cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, food wrappers, plastic grocery bags, plastic lids, straw and stirrer, glass beverage bottles and and other kind of plastic bags.
It said single-use throw-away plastics contaminate soil, river and water-bodies with irreparable damage.
According to International Maritime Organisation (IMO), marine litter presents a huge problem in oceans with some scientists warning that by 2050, the quantity of plastics in the oceans will outweigh the fishes.