Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
India faces numerous challenges in its bid to ban single-use plastics
The Indian government is planning to phase out single-use plastics leading to complete elimination. But concerns revolve around the availability of alternatives and plastic waste management systems.
In 2019, the Union government in a bid to free India of single-use plastics by 2022, had laid out a multi-ministerial plan to discourage the use of single-use plastics across the country.
A government committee has identified the single use plastic (SUP) items to be banned based on an index of their utility and environmental impact. It has proposed a three-stage ban:
- The first category of SUP items proposed to be phased out are plastic sticks used in balloons, flags, candy, ice-cream and ear buds, and thermocol that is used in decorations.
- The second category, proposed to be banned from July 1, 2022, includes items such as plates, cups, glasses and cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays; wrapping and packing films used in sweet boxes; invitation cards; cigarette packets; stirrers and plastic banners that are less than 100 microns in thickness.
- A third category of prohibition is for non-woven bags below 240 microns in thickness. This is proposed to start from September next year.
- It is not going to be an easy task given that close to 26,000 tons of plastic waste is generated across India every day, of which more than 10,000 tons stays uncollected.
- A significant amount of plastic ends up in rivers, oceans and landfills.
What needs to be done?
- The government has to do a thorough economic and environmental cost-benefit analysis.
- The plan has to take into account social and economic impacts for the ban to be successful.
- We need better recycling policies because resources are poor and there needs to be a much broader strategy.
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- What are single use plastics?
- India’s targets.
- Other countries which are planning to phase out the use of single use plastics.
Sources: the Hindu