India’s Plastic Bag Ban
words | Olivia Stickel
This year, more than 150 countries participated in Plastic Free July - run by a non-profit organization of the same name - to try to significantly cut down on plastic consumption. Still, over 300 tons of plastic is consumed globally each year, despite the growing taboo of using the substance. Numerous organizations have tried educating the public on the harmfulness of plastic and how to cut down on its waste, even creating effective challenges for the population such as Plastic Free July. However, India has a different idea on how to stop their growing plastic concern.
As of March 2018, 25 Indian states have approved a ban on polythene plastic bags, some being partial bans and some banning plastic bags completely. These bans were created in an effort to decrease their plastic consumption - a whopping 15,000 tons each day. The country also ranks 4th in the world on their mismanaged waste and 12th on their amount of plastic consumption each year (.60 million metric tons per year).
Yet the Indian government didn’t stop there. The Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation, the body that governs the city of Coimbatore, has started introducing bio-bags that are soluble in water and quick to decompose. Hoping these bio-bags will serve as a plastic alternative, big businesses in the Coimbatore area have teamed up with the municipality and switched over to the bio-bags to aid their integration into India’s huge market.
Further, the government has also issued a new law, the Plastic Waste Rules Amendment, which has imposed a fee on plastic bags. But India is not alone in their endeavor to cut down on plastic. In the U.S., cities in California, Texas, Washington, and New York take part in a similar fee-based legislation on plastic bags. As have many other parts of numerous countries, including Australia, England, Germany, Italy, and Ireland from as early as 2002.
While governments and companies are working to reduce plastic use, you can contribute too! Some simple ways to help in cutting down the world’s growing plastic issue are to use reusable bags when grocery shopping, switch to paper straws, and buy a reusable water bottle.