The government may not put a blanket ban on use of plastics, instead, it may curb the usage in phases through mass awareness campaigns.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been saying that plastic usage will scrapped in India by 2022, was set to launch the campaign with a ban on as many as six items on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The government seems to take some for completely banning plastics.
“There will be no blanket ban on plastics, but we will start an awareness drive against single-use plastic products. It will be like a mass awareness drive," said an official with the ministry of environment.
“We are also in talks with industries to urge them to shift to alternatives to plastics. States have also been issued advisories... So they will gradually phase out plastic ban instead of an immediate blanket ban," the official said.
Last month, lacking any clarity over the issue, environment ministry issued an advisory, defining single-use plastic "as disposable plastics (use-and-throw items) that are commonly used for packaging and include items intended to be used only once, before they are thrown away or recycled. Common SUP items are carry bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups and cutlery".
The ministry urged the states and union territories to curb production of all plastic carry bags, with or without handles, irrespective of thickness and size. Production of plastic cutlery including plates, plastic cups/glass, straws and stirrers should be curbed in respective states. Production and use of thermocol or any other cutlery/decorative item made from styrofoam should also be curtailed, the ministry said.
According to the government, plastic industry plays a vital role in the growth of Indian economy. The average consumption of plastics is roughly 13 kilograms per capita per year. The current trend in India's plastic exports seems highly encouraging and that plastics exports will be much above USD 8 billion in 2018-19, a 6% increase from USD 7.56 billion in 2017-18.