Single-use plastic ban in India (and how it didn’t work out)

Recently a wave of a ban of single-use plastic swept through India. The reason for this was that India’s DAILY plastic wastage was almost 26 thousand tonnes.

Also check: A little bit of demography (the article about overpopulation of India, China and the world)

Small shops and markets, which gave plastic bags for every little thing for free, contributed a lot to this too; sellers of street food (there is a lot of them in big cities of India), also gave plastic plates, forks and spoons, ketchup in small packages for free – as many as you wanted at the request; food delivery from restaurants became also very popular in India because it’s often inexpensive (in Delhi for 100-200 rupees, and often less than 100 rupees, you can order a normal, not small, lunch) – so some people just stopped taking lunch from homes to work and started to order it from restaurants instead, on daily basis. This all except all other plastic wastage.

Nowadays in Delhi you can see the inscriptions in many shops and even in the markets “no plastic bags, bring your own bag”. This issue is solvable, since different material bags get back in fashion here again too. But sellers of street food and restaurant’s delivery do not yet know what to do and how to replace single-use plastic. After all, before the existence of plastic, there were simply no deliveries of food from the restaurants. And street food sellers used glass or iron utensils and washed them (but it made the space around them dirty as well), they also had a smaller number of customers in the past because eating out was not famous in India; street vendors would have to hire someone to wash the dishes, which is disadvantageous for them; many people now find plastic utensils more hygienic because mostly poor people work on the sales of street food in India, and they do not always wash dishes well; and, more importantly, in India there is a lot of talks now about the large consumption of water and its shortage, so washing of dishes by street vendors is no longer an option. Even in some small cafes plastic utensils were also served, as the cafes did not have a place/ employee or other opportunity to wash glass or iron utensils.

Needs to say that the governments already tried to ban the plastic in the country earlier, but it did not last long, because people began to resent. Yes-yes, Indians can complain even on such important issues! Will say that people also work in plastic factories and they will be left without jobs! And yet, while this ban has been held for several weeks now, I hope it will continue! (although restaurants still send food delivery in plastic bags, but almost all the shops really stopped giving it). According to information in the Internet, governments also plan to ban plastic packaging of many products that are being sold in shops. But as of now, the ban on plastic bags does not apply to all states.

An alternative to plastic can be found, I hope. I have seen the websites that sell eco-friendly utensils starting from 2 rupees a peace (maybe street vendors and small restaurants can increase their prices a little bit for this?). In one restaurant, I saw wooden forks – yes, I know that this is also a consumption of trees, but still, new trees can be planted – at least it doesn’t look so irreparable as harm of plastic or lack of water. Historically, in India, banana palm leaves were used instead of plates.

Some time ago in the Internet there was information that in Europe making plates from palm leaves was considered as an environmentally friendly innovation. To which the Indians were very indignant that they have been using them, in general, all their lives, but this began to be regarded as something “not prestigious” here.

Let’s see what will happen later regarding this matter.

Cover picture source:

P.S.: You know that cows in India often eat from garbage, right? (about cows you can read Here)

P.S.: Writing regarding it a few weeks later, I can say it didn’t last for too long, unfortunately: people on the markets started to give plastic bags again, restaurants that were trying to replace plastic spoons and forks, also went back to them mostly. This is sad reality….

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