News: The long pending ban on single-use plastic seems set to come into effect on July 1.
However, some of the companies, specifically producers of beverages where straws are integral to their products, are seeking more time.
Why the demand to stay on ban on single-use plastic is not right?
First, already sufficient time has been given to industries to adapt to biodegradable products. The phasing out of these straws and other use-and-throw plastic products was initially notified by the Central Pollution Control Board way back in 2018, which is being extended continuously since then.
Second, Compostable straws made of paper, PLA (poly-lactic acid), or corn-starch, are now being commonly used in many other countries. These products can be produced or imported for use in India.
Third, indigenous manufacturing capacity for such items is expected to be expanded as demand grows.
What are the issues associated with single use plastics?
Nearly 90 per cent of single-use plastic material is neither recycled nor disposed of properly. The bulk of it ends up either on roads or drainage systems leading to water-logging or in the waterways, reaching right up to the seas to affect aquatic ecosystems.
A sizable part of it lands up in garbage dumps, where it can stay for hundreds of years, emitting toxic fumes to pollute the air. Traces of plastic toxicants are often found even in cooked or processed foods packed in substandard plastic containers.
India’s annual per capita plastic waste generation, estimated at about 4 kg, may seem low compared to that of many other countries. But in terms of the total mass, it ranks third in the world, next only to China and the US.
As many as 170 countries pledged to do away with hazardous plastic by 2030, in the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi. About 80 of them have fulfilled their commitments by imposing a complete or partial ban on the production, trade, possession, and use of unwanted plastic material. Thus India should also do away with the single use plastic now.
Source: This post is created based on the article “No single-use plastic” published in Business Standard on 22nd June 2022.