India has implemented a ban on single-use plastic items ranging from straws to ice cream sticks in an attempt to stem the country’s plastic pollution problem.
Plastic pollution has become ubiquitous in India, the world’s second most populous country. Plastic debris can be found stacked along roadsides, floating in waterways and choking drainage systems.
The country is the world’s third-largest producer of plastic waste, trailing only the United States and China, according to a recent report from Australia’s Minderoo Foundation.
But India, which uses about 14 million tonnes of plastic annually, according to reports by Reuters, “lacks an organised system for managing plastic waste, leading to widespread littering”.
The manufacture, sale or import of widely used items such as plastic cutlery, ice cream sticks, and film on cigarette packs and candy boxes are banned.
India announced its initiative last year. Now, the manufacture, sale or import of widely used items such as plastic cutlery, ice cream sticks, and film on cigarette packs and candy boxes are banned.
India’s ban on single-use plastic items includes straws, cutlery, ear buds, packaging films, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice-cream, and cigarette packets, among other products, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said in a statement.
Plastic bags, another major pollutant, are not on the list for now, but the government has mandated an increase in thickness to make them easier to reuse. Some plastic packaging used for consumer food products will be excluded from the ban, but manufacturers are tasked with ensuring that it is recycled.
There have been questions raised about enforcing the ban, with experts saying it might be difficult. The government has decided to set up control rooms to check any illegal use, sale and distribution of single-use plastic products.