After brouhaha, government will NOT ban single-use plastic
From ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about waging a war against single-use plastic. Listing how it harms the environment, he urged countrymen to switch to cloth bags for daily use. It was expected that Centre would put a blanket ban on single-use plastic on October 2, but an official has said this isn't what government is planning.
CK Mishra, Secretary of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said on Monday that the government is planning to "sensitize public" and not impose a ban. "We will also start talking to industries and start exploring alternatives to plastic use," he said, according to IE. He added the final goal is to ensure plastic is not dumped but recycled instead.
Further, Mishra added, "Industry has already committed research on alternative eco-friendly material for the manufacture of their products as a part of their Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)." He revealed as part of the mass movement, which will come under the Swachh Bharat mission, gram panchayats and municipalities will be asked to collect plastic waste and deposit it at one spot.
While the government's intentions have now been clarified, courtesy Mishra's words, plastic manufacturers have been spending a large chunk of their time to understand how will they deal with the consequences of a "ban". As per Business Standard, manufacturers are mulling to produce alternative products. Since glass will turn out to be expensive, they are hoping to use packaging materials made of polymer.
"Switching to alternative packaging materials, such as glass and tetra pack, would add to the cost of packaging, handling, and transportation (as glass is heavier than plastic). Neither is it user-friendly nor cost-effective," a senior official said while adding that ban should be delayed.
While confusion on what will be banned and what will be allowed persisted, PM Modi on Monday said he is only against single-use plastic. "Some people, by mistake, are talking about plastic-free India. I have not said this. I have said that single-use plastic, which comes to use only once, causes a lot of problems," he said on Monday in Chennai.