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India eases plastic scrap import ban

India has partially lifted its total and immediate ban on the import of solid plastic waste.

On 6 March the decision to ban imports was taken by the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, amending its Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Trans-boundary Movement) Rules, 2016.

At that stage, it was made clear that the restriction applied to all importers, including those in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Oriented Units (EOUs), raising questions about what would be the fate of those containers on ships already heading for India.

But on 11 March it was reported that SEZs and EOUs would be exempted temporarily from the ban, which will now apply to these special cases from 31 August this year.

India’s Central Pollution Control Board has calculated that 40% of India’s domestically generated plastic waste remains uncollected, hence the drive to stop imports.

An SEZ is one of 13 regions in India that has more liberal economic rules than the country’s domestic laws. The EOU scheme was introduced in 1980 and includes those businesses whose entire production is for export.

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