With growing awareness about the huge environmental threat of single-use plastics, countries around the world, like Chile and New Zealand, have ramped up their efforts against plastic pollution by strategically banning disposable plastics.
Now India is committing to a plastic-free future as well. The country recently announced a ban on single-use plastic items by 2022 in a bid to tackle the growing menace of plastic pollution. In addition to the ban, the government will also increase the thickness of polythene bags from 50 microns to 120 microns, beginning this fall.
The thinner polythene bags are, the more tricky they are to collect and recycle, which means that these items often end up polluting waterways and the environment. Currently, polythene bags thinner than 50 microns are banned in India. Under the new rules, however, bags of less than 75 microns in thickness will be banned this September and bags of less than 120 microns in December 2022.
As for single-use plastics; Items such as earbuds, balloon sticks, candy sticks, plastic plates, and cutlery, as well as wrapping or packaging films, among many others, will be banned.
The aim is to prevent plastic waste from leaking into the environment — which harms marine life and chokes drainage and river systems, and causes soil and water contamination. Another reason is to divert these items from being burnt in the open air, which negatively affects human health and the environment.