India ban the use of single-use-plastics

A country with 1 billion people has taken on the challenge. What does this mean for India?

The EU is acting against plastic pollution. From 3 July 2021, single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton buds cannot be placed on the markets of the EU Member States. In addition, the same measure applies to cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.

Over 1 billion people did it. Why can’t we?

India has joined the movement for a cleaner planet as New Delhi announces the ban for single-use plastic from July 1st. Reports suggest that India ranks 94th in single-use plastic waste generation.

“The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of following single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities shall be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022,’’ says the Ministry notification.

What items are banned?

The items include earbuds, balloon sticks, candy and ice-cream sticks, cutlery items, straws, sweet boxes. Invitation cards, cigarette packs, PVC banners and polythene bags under 120 microns.

These items are described as the “low-hanging fruit” of single-use plastic industry. The choice for the first set of single-use plastic items for the ban was based on “difficulty of collection, and therefore recycling”.

Directions have been issued at national, state and local level to not supply raw materials to industries engaged in banned items.

Earlier this year at UNEA, India, with 124 other countries, signed a resolution to address the full life of plastics from production to disposal.

Will it be in time and will it be enough?

Campaigners welcomed the ban as a “good beginning” and view it as the latest sign of progress in tackling the scourge of plastic waste.

Will it be in time and will it be enough? Certainly it is very encouraging to see legislation in many countries prohibiting single use plastics. Will it help curb the expected increase in use of plastic or will growing economies and population still mean more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2040?