India bans single-use plastics to prevent them from being asphyxiated by the waste

To combat waste that poisons wildlife and fauna, the Indian government has banned single-use plastics on Friday, July 1.

India bans single-use plastics to prevent them from being asphyxiated by the waste

To combat waste that poisons wildlife and fauna, the Indian government has banned single-use plastics on Friday, July 1. Experts say there are many obstacles, such as the inability to prepare manufacturers or the unwillingness of consumers to pay more.

Cows grazing plastic? This is a common sight in many Indian cities. A study has shown that elephants living in northern Uttarakhand's forests may have traces of the drug in their droppings.

India produces around four million tonnes annually of plastic. A third of this plastic is not recycled and ends-up in various waterways or landfills. This plastic waste sets fire to the air, causing more pollution.

A quarter of the litter is single-use. This is a reality the country hopes to change with its new ban.

This measure covers the import, production and sale of plastic cups and straws, as well the wrappers for cigarette packs. Products below a specified thickness of plastic bags are exempted at the moment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the first ban in 2018. Authorities have promised to tighten regulations.

On Friday, inspectors were sent to verify that distributors and suppliers are complying with the ban. They could face a maximum penalty of 100,000 rupees (1.209 euros), or a five-year sentence.

Nearly half of India's states have tried to impose such regulations. However, they have had mixed results, as shown by the state rivers and landfills. The country's plastics industry employs millions and is lobbying to delay the ban.

Pintu, a woman who serves coconut juice to customers using a straw with her livelihood, will be directly affected by the government's decision. It will be difficult to switch to more expensive paper straws. He said that he would probably pass on the cost to customers.

GlobalData analysts say that 35% of soft drinks are sold in cardboard containers and plastic straws. This means that manufacturers will be "hit very hard."

GlobalData's Bobby Verghese says that "the price-sensitive masses cannot foot the bill for environmentally friendly alternatives."

Jigish N.Doshi, president of industry group Plastindia Foundation expects "temporary job losses", but believes that the greatest problem is companies that have "invested huge amounts of capital into machines that will never get used." Perhaps the ban will prove more beneficial.

Jigish N. Doshi stated to AFP that it was difficult to create different products from machines. He suggested that the government could provide subsidies and help develop and purchase alternative products.

Satish Sinha, an environmental group from Toxics Link, stated that "there will be initial resistance" because it will be hard to find replacements.

Ecoware is a start up that aims to change the world. It manufactures biodegradable disposable products in its factory outside Delhi.

Rhea Mazumdar Singal, managing director, told AFP that she was inspired to start this company by the deplorable condition of landfills and rampant plastic consumption.

"We've seen many bans in the past, but we as citizens have the power."

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