India set to ban 6 single-use plastics on Gandhi’s birthday

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The government of India is set to impose a nationwide ban on plastic bags, cups and straws on October 2, officials announced, in its most sweeping measure yet to eradicate single-use plastics from cities and villages that have ranked among the world’s most polluted.

The ban will be comprehensive and will cover manufacturing, usage, and import.

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who is leading efforts to scrap such plastics by 2022, is set to launch the campaign with a ban on as many as six items on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, officials said.

These include plastic 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,” an official said.

In an Independence Day speech on August 15, Prime Minister Modi had urged people and government agencies to “take the first big step” on October 2 towards freeing the country of single-use plastic.

The ban will shave 5-10 percent from India’s annual consumption of about 14 million tonnes of plastic.

The ban on the first six items of single-use plastics is expected to shave 5 to 10 percent from India’s annual consumption of about 14 million tonnes of plastic, the official said.

He added, penalties for violations of the ban will probably take effect after an initial six-month period to allow people time to adopt alternatives. Some states have already outlawed polythene bags, according to Reuters.

The government also plans tougher environmental standards for plastic products and will insist on the use of recyclable plastic only, the official said.

It will also ask e-commerce companies to cut back on plastic packaging that makes up nearly 40 percent of the country’s annual plastic consumption, the officials said.

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.

The world is waking up to the plastic mess we are creating.

Earlier this year the European Union announced plans to ban single-use plastic items such as straws, forks, knives and cotton buds by 2021.

And elsewhere in Asia, 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.

Article Source: EcoWatch