The use of single-use plastic is going to be completely banned in India from July 1. Due to the increasing plastic pollution across the country, the central government has now categorically refused to give any exemption in this.
On Friday India’s nationwide ban on single-use plastic comes into effect, but a glance at the street vendors who line one road in the Indian capital selling coconut water, flowers, samosas, mangoes, and ice cream – each in their own plastic bag – reveals that few are ready.
This decision of the government has dealt a big blow to the companies manufacturing and selling packaged juices, soft drinks, and dairy products. Companies like Amul, Mother Dairy, and Dabur had requested the government to postpone their decision for some time. But now the central government has categorically denied this.
A public that is not yet ready to shop with their own bags, vendors, and shopkeepers who have not been provided with alternatives, and the prospect of daily transactions becoming complicated are just some of the problems India faces with the plastic ban.
India’s data on its plastic generation is opaque. In 2015, government statistics said the country generated 9.5m tonnes of plastic waste annually, but nonprofit research organization the Centre for Science and Environment believes the figure was a gross underestimate. As per the government, 60% of plastic waste is recycled, but a survey by the center in 2019 found the figure was 12%.
Banned products from July 1:
After the implementation of this ban from July 1, all beverage companies will not be able to sell their products with plastic straws. Apart from this, the use of items like cups, plates, glasses, forks, spoons, candy sticks, earbuds, plastic flags, ice cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, and plastic sticks of balloons will be completely banned.
There is a big business of milk and juice products in India priced between Rs 5 to Rs 30. Beverages from big companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Amul, and Mother Dairy reach customers with plastic straws. Because of this, the beverage companies are worried about the ban on ‘single-use plastic’. The government has directed all companies to find an alternative to ‘plastic straws’.
The country’s largest dairy group ‘Amul’ had written a letter to the government a few days ago, requesting it to postpone the ban on plastic straws. During this, Amul Management had said that this decision of the government will have a negative impact on the farmers. As consumption of milk in the world’s largest milk-producing country. Earlier Manish Bandlish, Managing Director of ‘Mother Dairy Fruit and Vegetable Private Limited’ had said, that we will import paper straws. But these are 4 times more expensive than the existing ‘plastic straws’.
One criticism of the ban is that alternatives are not available. Guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board mention cotton and jute bags, bamboo straws, cups, cutlery, clay cups, and biodegradable glass. But there are fears there is not enough supply. The Delhi government is holding a trade fair on 1 July where people making alternative packaging will showcase their goods, but it’s not clear how production can be ramped up to feed the needs of the country of 1.3 billion.
Packaging company UFlex is going to start manufacturing 6bn paper straws annually to cater to the demand of the fast-moving consumer goods industry, which uses them for its packs of juice, milk, and coffee.
Initially, the Narendra Modi government planned for a ban in 2020, but it was postponed to give the industry more time to prepare. Even now, many companies that use plastic straws are urging the government to extend the deadline again by three months.
What is Single-Use Plastic:
Single-Use Plastic is thrown away after using it once. This type of plastic also cannot be recycled. Usually ‘single-use plastic’ is burnt or buried under the ground. Because of this, it harms the environment for a long time.