India has decided to act on reducing plastic litter pollution and has introduced a ban on the use of single-use plastics onboard calling vessels.
The ban will require some items to be locked away and introduces a new requirement for recording all single-use plastics onboard vessels. The ban applies to all Indian vessels and to foreign flag vessels calling at Indian ports.
The ban will take effect in two stages – the first effective immediately and the second stage on 1 January 2020.
The immediate ban applies to single-use plastic items used as:
- Cutlery, plates and cups
- Water and other drinks bottles up to 10 litres
- Garbage and shopping bags
- Dispensing containers for cleaning fluids which are less than 10 litres.
Taking effect from 1 January 2020, the following single-use plastics are prohibited:
- Bags, trays, containers, food packaging film
- Milk bottles, freezer bags, shampoo bottles, ice cream containers
- Bottle for water and other drinks, dispensing containers for cleaning fluids, biscuit trays
- Hot drink cups, insulated food packaging, protective packaging for fragile items
- Microwave dishes, ice cream tubs, potato chip bags, bottle caps.
The North of England P&I club has advised that enforcement will be done by Port State Control and that affected plastic items must be stored prior entering Indian territorial waters. Vessels calling at Indian ports are required to make a log entry identifying the ‘Single Use Plastic Items’ on board the ship, along with the onboard location of where these items are stored, and the time and ship’s position of when this is done. No single use plastic items are to be discharged to a port reception facility at Indian ports.
PSC inspectors may verify compliance with this regulation as part of a PSC inspection. However, the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) has stated that no detentions of foreign ships will be enforced. A handwritten deficiency in the printed PSC Form ‘B’ (to be rectified prior departure) may be issued.