Single-Use Plastic Ban
As the name suggests, single-use plastics (SUPs) are those that are discarded after one-time use.
Besides the ubiquitous plastic bags, SUPs include water and flavoured/aerated drinks bottles, takeaway food containers, disposable cutlery, straws, and stirrers, processed food packets and wrappers, cotton bud sticks, etc.
Of these, foamed products such as cutlery, plates, and cups are considered the most lethal to the environment.
Impact on environment
If not recycled, plastic can take a thousand years to decompose, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
At landfills, it disintegrates into small fragments and leaches carcinogenic metals into groundwater.
Plastic is highly inflammable — a reason why landfills are frequently ablaze, releasing toxic gases into the environment.
It floats on the sea surface and ends up clogging airways of marine animals.
Size of the problem
No comprehensive data on the total plastic waste in the country.
A 2015 study by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) surveyed 60 cities and extrapolated the data to estimate that the country generated around 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste daily in 2011-12, equivalent to the weight of 4,700 elephants.
About 70% of the plastic waste was collected; 60% was recycled.
It is likely that actual daily generation of plastic waste is much more.
Steps taken by Indian government for MGMT of Plastic Waste
The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 notified by the Centre called for a ban on “non-recyclable and multi-layered” packaging by March 2018, and a ban on carry bags of thickness less than 50 microns (which is about the thickness of a strand of human hair).
The 2016 Rules did not mention SUPs.
On World Environment Day in 2018, India pledged to phase out SUPs by 2022.
The PM has called for “a new revolution against plastic”, and some government-controlled bodies such as Air India and the Indian Railways have announced they would stop SUPs.
Don’t have any alternative: CAIT
Domestic traders body CAIT on Friday urged the government for postponing the ban on single use plastic on account of absence of
"It is a pragmatic step and much needed to protect the environment but in the absence of equivalent alternatives, it could prove to be a nightmare for trade and commerce in India ... (But) sufficient preparations have not been done to provide an equivalent alternative to single use plastic," Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said.
Will have to bear losses
"In view of the non availability of equivalent alternatives, an extension to the enforcement of this ban for a reasonable time may be made," it said.
It alleged that 98 per cent of single use plastic is used by MNCs, e-commerce companies and warehousing hubs.
Dairy Companies will face the brunt
India's biggest dairy group, Amul, has written to the government urging it to delay a planned ban on tiny plastic straws, saying the move will have a "negative impact" on farmers and milk consumption in the world's biggest producer of the commodity.
Another company wrote to the government about the fact that alternatives for straws, imported paper and biodegradable variants were around 250% more expensive.
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