Can Reshaping Plastic Economy Bring Better Results Than Enforcing a Ban?

Can Reshaping Plastic Economy Bring Better Results Than Enforcing a Ban?

India has pulled up its sleeves to get rid of plastic pollution. The prime minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, announced a single use plastic ban nationwide. This ban is considered to be applied voluntarily by citizens or states can enforce this ban to combat ill environmental effects of plastic pollution in India and of course at the global level. The news of relief for many is that there is no strict ban enforced similar to strict traffic rules enforcement in India. However, some states are already showing acceptance of this ban and enforcing the same. At the moment, In India, there are 22 states and Union territories that have completely banned the use of single use plastic.

What is single use plastic?

Before getting into the serious discussion about the single use plastic ban, it is necessary to understand what it means by single use plastic. Here is its definition:
The single use plastic items are those items of plastic that usually have a lifespan of a year or less. They are used in packaging and other similar things and just after the first use becomes litter. For example, the plastic used in packing salt, sugar, hair oil, water bottle, etc. Once the item is used, the plastic is thrown.

Why plastic ban is imposed?

The single use plastic items are mostly non-recyclable. Thus, after just one or a few usages, they are dumped onto the ground or in oceans as litters. These plastic items don't die for centuries and add to the pollution in the country and the world. Just to grab your attention, even some disposable plastic items are also destructive to the environment because when a recycling process is performed with that kind of plastic, it leaves some vicious chemicals which can get gel into water and soil. This further pollutes the water and food we use. Also, some animals by mistake eat plastic which makes them ill and sometimes take their lives. In a nutshell, the use of plastic is vicious to the society, nation, and the world.
If we look at some statistics to gauge the importance of the plastic ban in India, you will be surprised. Only in India, we produce the plastic waste of 9.46 million tons every year and out of these 4.73 million tons of plastic is the single use plastic. This plastic gets dumped majorly in the oceans, which litter the beaches and harm marine life.
This is the reason you may have witnessed environmental volunteer work performed by different groups of people who clean beaches on a regular basis. As a citizen of India, we must be a part of the Environmental Group Activity. MY SELFLESS ACT App is the platform of the volunteer network where we can join and give our moral help with the aid of supporting these volunteers. However, this is not really the solution as people keep on adding more and more plastic litter soon after it is cleaned by the volunteers.
To combat the serious environmental effect of plastic pollution, the prime minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, announced that by 2022 they want to make India a plastic free nation.

Is It Possible to enforce single use plastic ban nationwide?

As per the government's point of view, yes it is. For example, since 1998, in Sikkim use of plastic bags is banned. However, it is extremely difficult and against the economy of India. In India, almost all items are packed in plastic wrappers, bags, or bottles. Removing plastic completely is quite a challenging job even if not impossible.
On the other hand, millions of dollars are invested in the plastic industry to develop packaging which will be stopped completely. This will take off many jobs. In India, there are already issues of scarcity of jobs and business opportunities. Also, the economy of India is not stable and fluctuating quite often. During this sensitive time, enforcing a single use plastic ban may create major economical and social consequences.
One more point to be considered as all materials are designed and produced by keeping its packaging in mind. It will be near impossible to find an alternative packaging of plastic without a major capital investment. This will shake the companies from the bottom up.

Is there any solution to remove plastic litter without banning it?

By uncovering environmental volunteer opportunities the use of plastic can be reduced significantly. Below are some steps to control the environmental effects of plastic pollution:
  • Encourage the production of recyclable plastic items and encourage the safe recycling process
  • Take the help of NGOs that do environmental volunteer work to spread awareness about the environmental effects of plastic pollution so its use can be controlled voluntarily.
  • Encourage people to be part of environmental volunteer work and limit the use of plastic. For example, they can bring a shag or cloth bag for shopping. They can refuse plastic straws.
  • More people take part in activities like cleaning beaches and ground and send plastic litter to government centers for recycling or safe destruction.

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