In his Independence Day Speech delivered on the 15th of August, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi called for putting an end to single-use plastics. Earlier too he has underlined the importance of shunning single-use plastic in his Mann ki Baat radio broadcast.
The latest speculations are that a specific ban might come to effect on the 2nd of October, Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday. A campaign might be launched by PM Modi to scrap throwaway plastics by 2022.
Plastic pollution is a global concern especially in India, which ranks among the bottom five countries on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI).
The ban might be implemented on 6 single-use plastics (plastics that are discarded after a single use) that includes the ubiquitous plastic bags, water bottles, aerated drink bottles, disposable straws, stirrers, use and throw cutlery, takeaway food containers, food wrappers, and packets and cotton bud sticks.
Most of the unrecycled plastic ends up in landfills, and our oceans, not only polluting them but also killing several marine animals. Plastic is a threat to our ecosystem and if not recycled, plastic can take a thousand years to decompose. Even decompostable plastic leave behind micro-plastics that are equally harmful to the environment.
Following the announcement by PM Modi, Indian Railways and Air India have also taken the initiative to curb the rising menace of plastic. According to a survey done by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2015, India generated around 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste in 2011-2012.
India is not the first country to impose a Single-use plastic ban. At least 60 countries around the world have banned the use of non-biodegradable plastics, some of which include Kenya, the US, China, France, South Korea, and Zimbabwe.
Some Indian states like Tamil Nadu have already banned the production, sale, and use of some single-use plastics. The ban will reduce 5% to 10% of India’s annual plastic consumption of about 14 million tonnes of plastic.