Plastic is one of mankind’s most incredible inventions, yet when used in a purely disposable way, plastic becomes one of the planet’s greatest scourges. That’s why Delhi, India’s capital city has decided to say अलविदा to plastics for good.
Last month, the nation’s National Green Tribunal passed a law that bans the use of all disposable plastic throughout the region. The law went into effect January 1st, 2017.
The term “disposable plastic” includes grocery bags, cups, and cutlery. This change is intended to decrease the incredible amount of plastic pollution generated by India, but not everyone is pleased.
Some business owners are concerned they will lose business. Others are supportive but wish there had been more time to transition into the change.
Still, environmental groups are heralding the move as an enormous success. To them, there’s no time to waste to stop waste. India is among the top worst plastic polluters. They’re responsible for about 60% of the plastic added to the oceans each year.
Delhi is serious about this ban. Stiff penalties exist for those who violate it. Any waste-to-energy plant caught burning plastic will be fined $7,300 USD, and any vendor caught using disposable plastics will be fined $147.
It’s hard to know what impacts this will have on both people and the environment. Many people aren’t immediately familiar with alternatives, like cloth bags, that are ubiquitous in other parts of the world.
This ban is important though. It sends a message that it can and will be done. Start phasing disposable plastic out of your lives before it’s completely banned.