There is no doubt we are living in a ‘plastic-era’, but what exactly is Single-use plastic, put in a simpler term it is known as disposable plastics, which is used only time. These includes plastic drinking bottles, polythene bags, plastic bottle caps, plastic food wrappers, plastic sachets, straw, Styrofoam (thermocol) cups or plastic utensils like plates, fork, spoon etc.
We all how hazardous plastic, but what is not widely acknowledged according to World Wildlife Fund is that a single-use plastic/ disposable plastic is like a slow poison. It slowly and eventually breaks down into micro pieces of plastic namely micro-plastics.
India’s take on single-use plastic: –
India currently consumes approximately 14 million tons of plastic annually. Centre is working towards putting ban on single-use plastic nationwide and doing away with single-use plastic till 2022, but first environment ministry is close to announcing a clear definition of single-use plastic. Nevertheless, various states have banned single-use plastic items including plastic cutlery, plastic bags etc. The ban of plastic means no one can use, manufacture or import plastic items. I will explain the details on India’s single use plastic ban actions by center later. Meanwhile European union plans to ban all the single-use plastic items by 2021.
Why putting ban single-use plastic?
The answer to this question is because of plastics hazardous consequences on our environment. According to NRDC organization single-use plastic bad and the problem lies in the throwaway culture. In spite of investing is durable and authentic products that will last for life, we hoard plastics because it’s rather convenient.
We produce 300 million tons of plastic each year worldwide, surprisingly half of it is single-use plastic things. Single-use can be replaced by reusable cloth bags and bottles easily and it will reduce the footprint of single-use as well. Most important it is problematic to recycle the single-use as well, one juggle to recycle small items like straws, bags, utensils because they fell into cervices of recycling machine and henceforth are rejected by the recycling centers. Disposable plastic has not only put mankind into dire situation but the whole ecosystem is affected by this convenient substance. A recent report by Centre for International Environmental Law showed that plastic production is contributing in planet warming green-house gas emission.
Plastic never really breaks down they just break into micro particles known as microplastics (5 millimeters long) they are very hard to detect but are present almost everywhere. Therefore, banning single-use plastic should be the utmost priority.
Noida factory: face penalty on using ban single-use plastic.
The Noida authority has command for penalty against a factory that was found using banned single use plastic to make glasses, in sector 63 reported The Hindustan Times. In addition the authority has also commanded to shutdown the factory as it is restricted to make single-use plastic in the city.
The clampdown against single use plastic in India begun on September 11, 2019. Centre and officials have appealed to the public to come forward and cooperate in helping the center to imposed the ban on single-use plastics, which is a total wreck for our ecology.
The officials has implemented a total of rupees 40 lakh as penalty against different agencies and organizations violating rules.
In national capital Delhi, the National Green Tribunal had introduced a ban on single-use plastic like cutlery, bags and other items. Currently cities namely Delhi, Mumbai, Karwar, Rajasthan, Vasco, Tirumala, Punjab, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh had imposed ban on the plastic bags reported NDTV.
The annual revenue of India’s plastic industry recorded worth rupees 3.5 lakh crore in 2019, stated All Indian Plastic Manufactures Association. Surprisingly only 57 percent of urban centers including metropolitan cities and smaller towns are aware that plastic carry bags are considered as single-use plastic when surveyed.
India should start working hard on curbing single use plastic by defining single-use plastic properly and clearly so that every single person known what are SUP. National action plan is need of an hour; nation should implement phase wise ban on plastic in terms of urgency. Strengthening waste management systems, if waste is segregated properly by dividing into dry, wet and domestic hazardous waste, it will beneficial for long-term. Last but not least Alternatives to single-use plastics, i.e. cloth bag, wooden cutlery, jute, leaf based plates, glass and metal etc.
Picture Source: Media India Group.
Plastic and single-use plastic is highly convenient but hazardous, people are addictive to plastics, it is easy to carry, flexible and what not but always remember plastic takes 1000 years to decompose in landfills. Only cooperation and awareness will curb the use of single-use plastic globally.