Monday, 26 November 2012

Ban of Plastic bags in India

There is a growing trend to ban plastic carrier bags in cities across India as the plastic pollution menace is growing by the day.  A number of new articles have reported the bold decisions by public authorities (in Delhi, in Kanyakumari, in the Nilgiris hills) to ban the source of the menace, but this is not always practical as little alternatives have been put into place to effectively wean the public away from this addiction.

A number of countries have also taken this initiative and India is one of the most active proponents of such a ban.  However, the plastic pollution is real and banning the source is only addressing the future production of this menace.  We still have a major problem today to resolve in cleaning up our land and water of this trash.  Unlike other natural trash, plastic remains in our environment for a long time.  in order for the ban to be effective, we also need to address the issue of collection and recycling.  Currently it is left to the private sector and individuals to tackle this issue.  I have heard of stories of plastic bottle recycling plants in Chennai being forced to purchase trash bottles from the US and Europe in order to supply its need as the disorganised collection in India is simply not able to satisfy the demand for waste plastics.

Similarly, a new initiative by the Chennai mayor to collect plastics for recycling in road surfacing layers which was launched at the beginning of this year never materialised, as I myself attempted to deliver collected plastics to the indicated collection centres only to find corporation staff clueless of this collection drive.


It is left up to the private sector to organise itself using market forces to drive the need.  The recent FDI in retail reform passed by the centre may yet have a solver lining as this article highlights about Ikea's trash recycling initiatives in Sweden.  Such initiatives would work very well in India as people are all too ready to make a few rupees worth of business, especially among the poorer urban population which are less likely to follow laws that ban the use of plastics as this Reuters blog so well explains:
" When it comes to plastic bags, alternatives aren’t as cheap, but people tend to not mind flouting what they consider “nanny-state” laws if the fines aren’t that high. After all, paying the fine might be easier for some than hunting for a jute bag. "

3 comments:

  1. Inspite of ban on the plastic the use is still rampant with the common man. It's important that NGOs and social workers to their bit to take this to another level. Let's take some inspiration from the likes of Subhalaxmi
    http://pinksworth.com/environmental-conservation-begins-from-home-says-environmentalist-dr-v-shubhalaxmi/

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