The National Green Tribunal has sought response from the Centre on a plea seeking ban on use of microplastics in cosmetic and bodycare products in India alleging their use is extremely dangerous for aquatic life and environment.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar issued notice to Ministry of Environment and Forests and Ministry for Water Resource and sought their reply on next date of hearing on April 18.
During the hearing of the plea, the bench asked advocate Sumeer Sodhi whether the matter is covered under Drugs and Cosmetics Act and how does the issue come under the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
To this the counsel replied that these microplastics are plastic pieces or fibres which are very small and according to recent United Nations reports these are dangerous for the aquatic life and environment.
Microplastics are plastic pieces or fibres measuring less than five milimetres. The microplastics or microbeads found in personal care products are always smaller than one milimetre.
"Due to the unregulated production and usage of plastics in microbeads in various cosmetic products available in the market and the excessive usage of such products by the end users is leading to water pollution across the globe. It is, perhaps, due to these life-threatening dangers of release of microbeads into our eco-system, that there is an international campaign for ban of usage of plastic microbeads," the plea filed by Ashwini Kumar said.
It said there is a global demand for cosmetic products.
"These products are washed down the drain after use, microbeads flow through sewer systems around the world before making their way into rivers and canals and ultimately, straight into the seas and oceans, where they contribute to the huge chunk of plastic soup in the environment," the plea said.
It sought ban on the usage of microbeads or microplastics in the manufacture, import, sale of various cosmetic or personal care products and imposition of fines on the defaulting companies causing environmental pollution.