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India bans disposable plastics

On Thursday afternoon in Kolkata, India, fruit seller Tambil Alam sits behind a basket of mangoes on the sidewalk of a busy street and is a disposable plastic bag that takes effect on Friday. Said the national ban on. Will hurt your business.

"I don't know for now what to use to pack fruit when thin plastic bags are banned from tomorrow [July 1]," Alam told VOA on Thursday.

India banned the use of plastic bags less than 75 microns thick last year. However, market sellers and shopkeepers still use such bags.

"If you can't use a plastic bag, a paper bag is the next option available. There are stronger paper bags on the market than those used in big stores, but I'm on the sidewalk I can't afford to use those expensive bags for my business, "Alam said.

"One stronger paper bag that can carry 2 kilograms of mango costs at least 8 rupees, but if you pay 8 rupees [$ 0.10], at least 25 vinyls You can buy a bag. "

A shop selling single-use plastic carry bags at a market in Kolkata. (Shaikh Azizur Rahman/VOA)
Made of disposable plastic Carry bags in the Colkata market. (Shaikh Azizur Rahman / VOA)

Customers in some markets have stated that plastic bags are convenient and convenient.

"Every time we carry a cloth bag from home, our culture is gone for a long time. It is recommended that sellers provide us with bags. Plastic bags are cheap, they are goods Comes almost free of charge, "said the 65-year-old carpenter.

Last week, India's Ministry of Environment and Forests, which officially announced a ban on disposable plastics, released a list of banned disposable plastic items.

The list of banned disposable plastic products includes plastic cups, plates, cutlery, ice cream sticks, candy sticks, straws, wrappings and polystyrene (thermocol / styrofoam). ..

A road in Kolkata, awash with single-use plastic litter. People use single-use plastics and then often dump them by the side of roads. (Shaikh Azizur Rahman/VOA)
The roads of Kolkata are full of disposable plastic waste. People often use disposable plastic and then throw it away by the side of the road. (Shaikh Azizur Rahman / VOA)

In a recent statement, the Central Pollution Control Board of India told people cotton and jute bags, clay cups, I asked to switch to bamboo or wooden cutlery. Other items made of biodegradable materials. Those who criticize the latest bans say that alternatives are not abundant or very expensive.

The Government of India said in April that the country produces 3.5 million tonnes of plastic waste annually. However, the Center for Science and Environment, a nonprofit research group based in New Delhi, estimates that this number should be higher.

A fruit market in Kolkata. In such a street-side market almost all vendors use single-use plastic carry bags to sell fruits. (Shaikh Azizur Rahman/VOA)
The fruit market in Kolkata. In these streetside markets, almost every vendor sells fruit using disposable plastic carry bags. (Shaikh Azizur Rahman / VOA)

In May 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a speech and India gave all the disposable plastics of the country 2022.

"The choices we make today define our collective future. Choices may not be easy, but through awareness, technology, and true global partnerships, we make the right choice. We are all working together to overcome plastic pollution and make the planet a more livable place, "Modi said.

The GuardianIn a newspaper article, former United Nations Environment Program director Erik Solheim wrote in June 2018: ..

But he once again praised India's initiative in 2018: "They turn political motivations into practical actions, inspiring the world and igniting real change." I have shown that I can do it. "

A shopkeeper is selling sweetened yogurt drinks using single-use plastic glasses, near a railway station in Kolkata. (Shaikh Azizur Rahman/VOA)
The owner sells disposable sweet yogurt drinks. There are plastic glasses near the train station in Kolkata. (Shaikh Azizur Rahman / VOA)

Welcoming the ban, Anoop Kumar Srivastava, the founder of the Plastic Pollution Opposition Campaign Foundation, has been banned by the Government of India. He told VOA that it would be paved. How to reduce the country's plastic pollution and ultimately eliminate it.

"But the enforcement of disposable plastic bans is difficult in India and needs to be combined with campaigns to change people's behavior. How disposable plastics are harmful to human health and the environment. We also need to be more aware of the impact on ourselves, which will have a negative impact on future generations, ”says Srivastava.

"This will reduce the demand for disposable plastics and help enforce the ban. At the same time, strict measures will need to be taken against those who continue to produce the ban." Stated.

If found to violate the disposable plastic ban, you will be sentenced to five years in prison or a fine of at least 100,000 rupees ($ 1,265). According to a statement from the Ministry of the Environment, a special control room will be set up to monitor and guarantee the enforcement of bans at the national and state levels.

Vegetables packed in thin single-use plastic carry bags on sale at a street vegetable market in Kolkata, 30 June, 2022 - a day before the nationwide single-use plastic ban comes into effect. (Shaikh Azizur Rahman/VOA)
Packed in a thin disposable plastic carry bag Vegetables June 30, 2022, sold at the street vegetable market in Kolkata-the day before the nationwide disposable plastic ban came into effect. (Shaikh Azizur Rahman / VOA)

Still, vegetable sellers in the sidewalk market said it would be difficult for the government to fully enforce the ban.

"The thin and cheap plastic bags I've used so far are somehow still available in the underground market, just like the way cannabis and illegal liquor are sold. And many vendors secretly use plastic bags. Will buy and use, "said Aphrosabegum.

Another fruit seller who demanded anonymity, Begumu's neighbor, said: The use of banned plastic bags will probably decrease to some extent, but will not stop altogether. … This is India.