Plastic pollution is one of the leading causes of environmental pollution all over the world. While many countries have banned the use of plastic, India continues to do so.
Recalling the devastating floods in Uttarakhand in 2013, which resulted in a massive loss of life and property. How many of us are informed that this devastation was, to a great extent, manmade and not entirely normal?
Now that the government appears to be aware of the dangers of plastic, it has introduced the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules 2021. By 2022, the Union Environment Ministry has stated that the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of certain single-use plastic items with low utility and high littering potential will be prohibited.
Based on an index of utility and environmental impact, a central government committee has identified single-use plastic items to be banned. There will be three stages to the ban.
Single-use plastic has been defined as disposable plastics commonly used for packaging, which include items designed to be used only once before being disposed of or recycled. From July 1, 2022, the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of some single-use plastic products, such as polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, will be prohibited.
During the 2019 United Nations Environment Assembly, India proposed a resolution to address single-use plastic pollution by 2022. Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that single-use plastic is one of the major causes of environmental decay.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) awarded PM Modi the ‘Champions of the Earth’ award in 2018 for pledging to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022.
International Laws on Plastic Ban
France: In 2016, the country passed a ‘Plastic Ban’ law to fight the world’s growing problem of plastic pollution, which states that all plastic plates, cups, and utensils will be banned by 2020. France is the first country to prohibits all plastic-based everyday products. This law has the added benefit of requiring that replacements for these items be made from biologically sourced materials that can be composted. The law is also the result of a total ban on plastic shopping bags. The law aims to cut the country’s use of plastic bags in half by 2025.
Rwanda: Like any other developing country, Rwanda suffered from plastic pollution, with billions of plastic bags blocking up waterways and destroying entire ecosystems. To fight this scourge, the government implemented a popular agenda that prohibited the use of all non-biodegradable plastic in the country. Since 2008, this African developing country has been plastic bag-free. While other countries around the world we’re just beginning to impose plastic bag taxes, the country implemented a complete ban on plastic bags. The ban is ineffective not only because of strict enforcement but also because of the severe penalties. Offenders caught smuggling plastic bags face jail time, according to the law.
Ireland: Ireland is an excellent example of how to remove the widespread symbol of urban life – plastics. In 2002, the country implemented a plastic bag tax, which required consumers to purchase bags. It was so high that it resulted in a 94 percent reduction in plastic bag use within weeks of its implementation. And now, plastic bags are widely forbidden.
This type of environmental hazard affects not only humans but also the entire ecosystem. The government should switch from jute or paper bags to plastic bags to make the environment safer for future generations. The initial take from the Indian government has improved India’s waste management system. Programs like Swacch Bharat Abhyaan should be implemented more frequently.