India will ban most single-use plastics next year, but environmental experts say the move is not enough to reduce pollution.
|USA60% of plastic waste in India is collected and treated, according to estimates by the Campaign Fund Against Plastic Pollution (FCAPP). Photo: AFP|
40% of plastic waste is still not collected
Experts say that the Medium India The announcement of the ban is only the first step in reducing environmental impact. The ban on single-use plastic productsIndian government following a 2019 resolution aimed at tackling plastic pollution in the country. This ban applies to most single-use plastics and will take effect from July 1, 2022.
Environmental activists say enforcement is key to making the ban work. They say that New Delhi also needs to address important systemic issues such as policies regulating the use of plastic substitutes, increasing recycling and better waste management.
Single-use plastic items under India’s ban will include: grocery bags, food packaging, bottles and straws that are used only once before being thrown away or recycled.
“India has to strengthen its system on the ground to ensure compliance, while also ensuring that the ban is enforced within the period,” said Swati Singh Sambyal, an independent waste management expert in New Delhi. industry and other related fields”.
According to the assessment of the United Nations, the reason the production of plastic products exploded in the last century is because this material is cheap, light and easy to manufacture; and forecast This trend will continue to increase in the coming decades.
However, many countries are facing difficulties in managing and disposing of plastic waste. In India, only about 60% of plastic waste is collected for recycling, which means that the remaining 40% (10,376 tons) remains uncollected, according to Anoop Srivastava, director of the Anti-Pollution Campaign Fund. Plastic Contamination (FCAPP), a non-profit organization that advocates for plastic waste management decisions in India.
Suneel Pandey, director of environment and waste management at the Institute of Energy and Resources (Teri) in New Delhi, said many of the plastics used in India are of low economic value and should not be collected. for recycling. As a result, they become a common source of air and water pollution.
Banning plastic is not enough
Many countries, including India, are taking measures to reduce plastic use by encouraging the use of biodegradable and less harmful alternatives to the environment.
For example, food vendors, restaurant chains and some businesses in India have started using biodegradable cloth or paper bags. But so far, India “has not had any guidance on alternatives to plastic”, according to independent environmental expert Swati Singh Sambyal. This problem may be due to the ban on single-use plastic still in effect.
Ms. Sambyal said that India needs to have clear regulations on the use of alternative materials to direct people to plastic alternatives.
On the other hand, India is also lacking new regulations on plastic waste recycling. Although about 60 percent of India’s plastic waste is recycled, experts fear the large backlog of plastic waste is due to low recycling efficiency. In fact, high-quality plastic that is recycled into new plastic is of lower quality, such as plastic bottles that are recycled into polyester for clothing.
Indian environmental campaigners generally say that a ban on the use of single-use plastic products is not enough and Indian government other initiatives and new regulations are needed.
In addition to improving recycling, experts recommend that India prioritize investment in research and development of alternatives, as it is a large-scale, price-sensitive market.
In the past, several Indian states have introduced various restrictions on the use of plastic bags, but most of these regulations are not strictly enforced.
Therefore, this ban is a big step forward for India in the fight against waste, sea, and air pollution, and in line with this nation’s environmental agenda.