Ban on single-use plastic kicks in across India as the country recognises the choking impacts of plastic waste on the environment

Ban on single-use plastic kicks in across India as the country recognises the choking impacts of plastic waste on the environment
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The plastic industry picked up in India only in the second half of the 20th century and made massive progress, booming and diversifying rapidly. With tens of millions of tons of plastic production and similar amounts of plastic waste flow, this non-biodegradable nuisance continues to choke the country’s precious land and water resources.
From July 1, the central government has restricted the whole process of importation, production and sales of single-use plastic across India. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India said that the adverse impacts of littered single-use plastic items on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including in the marine environment, are globally recognised.
“Addressing pollution due to single-use plastic items has become an important environmental challenge confronting all countries," said the MoEFCC in a statement.
India generates nearly one crore tonnes of plastic waste annually, of which around 35 lakh tonnes remain single-use plastic. Only a tiny portion of this gets recycled, while the rest ends up in landfills and open spaces, adversely impacting flora and fauna and drastically affecting human health. Recently, scientists have even found traces of microplastics in human blood.
Recognising the impact of plastic waste on the ecosystems, India declared this ban on single-use plastic from July 1 onwards.

But, what is single-use plastic?

In standard terms, single-use plastic refers to the production and sale of disposable plastic items that are intended for only one-time usage. They are also known as disposable plastics, and the packaging industry frequently uses them. Examples are shopper bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups, and cutlery.
Single-use plastic account for the most significant proportion of synthetic plastics, and a majority of such plastics do not biodegrade. Instead, they gradually disintegrate into smaller pieces called microplastics that seep into the underwater, polluting water and land ecosystems. Single-use plastic products (SUPPs) may be the definition of convenience. Yet, the harm they cause to the environment and human health through production, distribution, and littering makes them a serious threat.
The ban in India is applicable to "earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice- cream sticks, polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers, and polystyrene for decoration."
The minimum specified thickness for polythene carry bags was 75 microns already applicable from September 2021 but it would be 120 microns from December 2022.

Plastic has moulded society in ways that make life easier and safer, from cell phones to utensils to food packaging. However, synthetic material has also left a negative impact on the environment and possibly human health, choking water bodies and several aquatic organisms. Plastic is a non-biodegradable item that eventually ends up in landfills that directly affect land, reducing the number of microbes that live beneath the soil surface and fertilise our lands.
Plastic harm is just not limited to the land but has adversely affected aquatic marine life; India releases 1.5 crore tons of waste into the Indian Ocean each year, and the massive amount of persistent plastic in the marine debris harms the coastline and marine ecosystems, making the Indian ocean the second most polluted ocean in the world.