The Indian government on Wednesday launched a plastic waste collection drive aimed at gathering 10,000-tons of plastic waste by 2 October; the day marked as the birth anniversary of the country’s iconic freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi.
The Indian government, which celebrates it as “Clean India Day”, has been considering banning single-use plastic materials, which the Indian prime minister blamed for having a catastrophic effect on the environment.
If implemented, the ban would affect nearly 10,000 plastic manufacturing units across India, said a report by business news channel CNBC-TV18’s website.
Shopkeepers and traders have a mixed response to the idea of a plastic ban; however, the idea has been hailed by a large section of environmentalists in the country.
Environmentalist Harjeet Singh, Global Lead for the environment at ActionAid International, has voiced his support for the nationwide ban on single-use plastic.
"Around 25,000 tons of plastic waste is generated every day in the country, and 40 per cent of that waste remains uncollected. The government has taken an exemplary decision to move towards banning single-use plastic items, which includes plastic cups, bags and bottles," Singh said.
"It is expected that India will get rid of these items in the next two years and that will help in reducing the plastic waste in the country by around 10 per cent," he added.
Meanwhile, almost every major player in the Fast-Moving Consumer Good (FMCG) sector including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Bisleri are reportedly working to find alternatives to their plastic containers.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has supported the government on the ban. While the body has already launched a nationwide campaign among the trading community from 1 September called "Say No to Plastic", it has asked that the government consider the potential loss of jobs by employees working in the plastic industry.
The Prime Minister's appeals at different national and international forums show his resolve to ensure the ban on single-use plastics and reflect how serious the government is about this move. The government should also look into the rehabilitation of the thousands of industries that produce plastic and employ millions of people in the country. If an alternative is not provided to them, then there will be chaos and unemployment in the country", CAIT said in its statement.