Single-use plastic likely to be banned in New Delhi
In Delhi, plastic measuring less than 50 microns has been banned by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee but there is no imminent ban on the use of single-use plastic.Updated: Sep 17, 2019 00:43 IST
Delhi government is planning to ban some single-use plastic items in the national capital, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for India doing away with single-use plastic.
While there’s no official definition of ‘single-use plastic’, it largely refers to plastic bags, cups, water bottles, wrappers, sachets and straws that are said to be contributing significantly to the pollution of rivers and soil.
“We are working on a plan to ban some of the single-use plastic items. Some states have already done it and have come up with notifications. We are going through them to find out which are the items that could be banned in Delhi,” said a senior official of the Delhi environment department.
In his speech on Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for freedom from single-use plastic (SUP). “During my 2014 speech, I spoke about cleanliness. It became a movement in the country and the common man took it up with gusto. Today, I have another request. By October 2, on the birth anniversary of dear Bapu (Mahatma Gandhi), I want to urge the citizens to give up single-use plastic,” the Prime Minister had said while addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort.
Some states such as Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh have banned plastic bottles and tetra packs, single-use straws and styrofoam tea cups among others. But many like Bihar banned only polythene bags.
“After we identify the SUP items that could be banned in Delhi, we would soon send a proposal to the government for its consideration. The civic bodies have also taken up a series of initiatives to phase out single use plastic,” the environment department official said.
In Delhi, plastic measuring less than 50 microns has been banned by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee but there is no imminent ban on the use of single-use plastic.
Experts, however, said that a sound baseline data on impact of SUPs and their alternatives is necessary before imposing any ban.
“A few things must be done before enforcing a ban. Firstly, a proper baseline analysis identifying the most problematic SUP and assessing their impact should be carried out. After this, possible actions need to be evaluated which could be regulatory, economic incentives, voluntary or a combination of all. Once this is done, stakeholders’ engagement and getting their views is a must. One needs to look into the affordability of alternatives and whether they have a lower environmental and carbon footprint,” said Swati Singh Sambyal, programme manager (Municipal Solid Waste) at CSE..
“This, along with improving waste management by pushing for segregation incentive methods, regular monitoring and enforcement needs to be done. If all this happens, only then bans will be successful, else not,” Singh said.
The Delhi High Court had in 2016 prohibited the use of disposable plastic glasses in all hotels, restaurants and private parties in the national capital territory region.
“But it is yet to be implemented. Till date we were seizing plastic bags less than 50 microns,” said an environment department official.
The plastic manufacturers, however, said that instead of banning the ubiquitous ‘single-use-plastic’, could lead to job cuts and unemployment, the government must focus on managing plastic waste with new technologies.
“We use hundreds of single-use plastic items in everyday use. It would be hard to ban them. Instead authorities can differentiate between recyclable and non-recyclable items and adopt new technologies and experts to manage them. Banning single use plastic could be disastrous as there could be job cuts and unemployment. The government should think of alternatives too,” said Rajesh Mittal, member, plastic manufacturers and traders association in Delhi.
According to an estimate by UN Environment, about 300 million tonnes of plastic generated globally every year. That’s nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population.
First Published: Sep 17, 2019 00:43 IST