Asia Plastic Bans Politics & Legislation

Indian Plastic Ban is Turning into a Little Fiasco

The Mumbai plastic ban came into effect on Friday 22nd June and it seems already that it's turning into a little fiasco.

India has ignored its environmental pollution for a long time but these days are over. India is waking up and becoming an environmental champion: decisions are being taken to reduce the plastic waste problem.

Indians are smart and could show the rest of the world how to reduce the plastic waste problem. They seem to be open for change and ready to make their contribution but the local governments don’t seem to be communicating correctly about it.

Restaurant owners have little clarity regarding the alternatives to plastic containers, cutlery and plastic bags. Restaurateurs are confused about what plastic is permissible. Some restaurateur believe recyclable plastic containers are allowed, others are unsure. Some restaurateurs don’t know what to use as alternatives.

A good example of this fiasco is the following incident: a day after the imposition of the plastic ban in the state of Maharashtra, a minister was seen giving away bouquets wrapped in plastic at a press conference. This is a clear public display of the difficulty in imposing the plastic ban. The minister was made aware of this embarrassing mistake.

Santosh Shetty, President of Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHAR) made the following statement:

“The fact is, with these new alternatives in place, the cost will increase by Rs 10 and it will affect the public. For instance, if a person purchases a snack of Rs 50, he will have to shell out an extra Rs 10 for the new packaging. We are supporting the ban and we have asked the members not to use any type of plastic bags. We are looking at biodegradable substitutes as replacement for plastic.”

Mahesh Karkera, the owner of Mahesh Lunch Home said:

“We are opting for paper bags, though these are not satisfactory. We will be using recycled plastic containers. We have ordered small and big wooden spoons for home delivery. Cornstarch bags have not been approved by the government as yet. The only concern is about replacing plastic bags.”

Dilip Datwani, President of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India said:

“Now, the only alternative is foil (supported by paper lids) and paper containers but the food articles will become damp (soggy). The foil and paper containers don’t have a longer shelf life. Authorities themselves are not ready to implement it as they are unaware of the alternative to plastic in some categories.”

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