Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is leading efforts to ban single-use plastics by 2022, is set to launch the campaign with ban on as many as six items on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, two officials said.
The Centre is set to impose a nationwide ban on plastic bags, cups and straws on October 2, officials said, in its most sweeping measure yet to stamp out single-use plastics from cities and villages, as some of the cities in India rank among the world’s most polluted.
These plastic products include bags, cups, plates, small bottles, straws and certain types of sachets, said the officials, who asked not to be identified, in line with government policy.
“The ban will be comprehensive and will cover manufacturing, usage and import of such items,” one official said.
The environment and housing ministries, the two main ministries leading the drive, did not respond to emails from Reuters to seek comment.
In an Independence Day speech on August 15, PM Modi had urged people and government agencies to “take the first big step” on October 2 towards freeing the country of single-use plastic.
Concerns are growing worldwide about plastic pollution, with a particular focus on the oceans, where nearly 50% of single-use plastic products end up, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, studies show.
The European Union plans to ban single-use plastic items such as straws, forks, knives and cotton buds by 2021.
China’s commercial hub of Shanghai is gradually reining in use of single-use plastics in catering, and its island province of Hainan has already vowed to completely eliminate single-use plastic by 2025.
The ban on the first six items of single-use plastics will clip 5% to 10% from India’s annual consumption of about 14 million tonnes of plastic, the first official said.
Penalties for violations of the ban will probably take effect after an initial six-month period to allow people time to adopt alternatives, officials said.Some states have already outlawed polythene bags.
The government also plans tougher environmental standards for plastic products and will insist on the use of recyclable plastic only.
It will also ask e-commerce companies to cut back on plastic packaging that makes up nearly 40% of the country’s annual plastic consumption, officials say.
Cheap smartphones and a surge in the number of internet users have boosted orders for e-commerce companies, such as Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc’s Flipkart, which wrap their wares – from books and medicines to cigarettes and cosmetics – in plastic, pushing up consumption.
Indian Railways to ban single-use plastics
Last week, The Hindu reported that, the Indian Railways has decided to enforce a ban on single-use plastic materials on its premises, including trains, with effect from October 2, 2019.
Indian Railways to expedite installation of 1,853 plastic water bottle crushing machines at 360 major stations in the first phase.
Most noteworthy, the Railway Board asked Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Development Corporation (IRCTC) to implement return of plastic drinking bottles as part of Extended Producer Responsibility.
Branded plastic pollution worldwide
Big companies including Coca-Cola and Danone have signed a new global commitment to tackle the plastic waste problem.
Mere greenwashing, or can such pledges make a difference in the fight against plastic pollution?
Plastic is pollution the minute it is made! At first, such a provocative statement may seem too outrageous, given the various applications of plastic that we have been used to in our daily lives.
The record, however, shows that only 9% has actually been recycled of all the plastic ever produced and widely deployed in commerce by companies.
However, rest of the plastics getting burned, disposed of in landfills or dumpsites, or otherwise ending up in nature or polluting our oceans.
The results of this latest set of brand audits are featured in our consolidated report Branded: In Search of the World’s Top Corporate Polluters vol. 1 and they reveal that among the world’s most prolific and polluting brands are multinational companies namely Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Danone, Mondelez International, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Perfetti van Melle, Mars Incorporated, and Colgate-Palmolive.
In fact, the top three companies alone (Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé) accounted for 14% of the branded plastic pollution found in the six regions where the audits were conducted.
Worse, a report from the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) published in the year 2017 states that plastic production is slated to increase by nearly 40% over the next 10 years.
To summarize, it is completely unacceptable to be producing all this pollution that nature cannot absorb.