India, the world’s second-most populous country, uses about 14 million tons of plastic annually. Plastic waste is one of the country’s biggest pollution problems.
The government has now taken drastic measures to ban the use of single-use plastic. This includes straws, cutlery, earbuds, packaging films, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice cream, and cigarette packets.
The country is in dire need of an organised system for managing plastic waste and it shows as the country is known for its widespread littering. The plastic waste not only clogs drains, rivers and oceans, but it also kills animals.
Food, beverage and consumer goods companies have begged the government to hold off the restrictions to avoid disruptions, but it has decided against it.
CNN reports that PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, India’s Parle Agro, Dabur and Amul had lobbied for straws to be exempted from the ban. In a relief to consumers, the government has for now exempted plastic bags but it has asked manufacturers and importers to raise the thickness to promote reuse.
Enforcing the ban might be a challenge. That’s why the government has set up control rooms to check any illegal use, sale and distribution of single-use plastic products.
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