Single use plastic ban: Too big of a risk for Indian Economy?

Government shelves single-use plastic ban, officials said on 1st October, imposing a ban of this magnitude will be disruptive for the industry when the economy is going through a slowdown and unemployment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan was to start off with banning plastic bags, cups, small bottles, straws, plates and some type of sachets on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, as part of the campaign to get rid of single use plastics by 2022 from India.

However, two spokespersons said that there will be no immediate bans, although, government will try to restrain their use. Pro tem, the government is asking the states to impose existing rules on manufacturing, storing, and using single use plastic bags and Styrofoam, Chandra Kishore Mishra, the top bureaucrat at the ministry of environment, told Reuters.

Chitra Mukherjee, head of advocacy and policy at Delhi-based Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group said “the poisons, toxins, and persistent pollutants present in some of these plastics leach and enter human bodies where they cause several diseases, including cancer.

A lot of rage was seen from consumer goods firms which uses plastic in packaging for everything, including soda bottles, biscuit wrappers to ketchup and shampoo bottles on government’s ban on single use plastic ban.

This move on plastic ban had become a threat on the existence of numerous economic sectors as there are no alternatives available for immediate switch, said The Confederation of Indian Industry, a lobby group.

The lobby recommended that small sized plastic bottles used in pharma and healthcare products must be exempted since there are no alternative to them. The Confederation added, sachets made from multi layered packaging should be exempted as well, as this will disrupt supplies of consumer goods like milk, bread, biscuits and more.

According to the UN, plastic waste is an epidemic situation in the world’s oceans and land with over 100 million tonnes dumped in oceans alone till date. Large volume of micro plastic has been discovered in the intestines of mammals living under the surface of the ocean like sharks, dolphins and whales.

India needs to come up with an organised system of managing plastic waste as the country consumes almost 15 million tonnes of plastic yearly.

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