Single Use Plastics Rise of Plastic Consumption in India (Download PDF)

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Single Use Plastics or Disposable plastics include items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. Some of the examples include plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles and most food packaging. The Prime Minister of India at the Sabarmati river front in Ahmedabad on October 2,2019 announced to phase out single-use plastics by 2022. Polythene sheets of less than 50 microns thickness for storing or transporting any commodity excluding garbage and cups for milk products like ice-cream and curd will not be allowed by the vendors.

  • The packaging materials used in plant nurseries, medicines, blood transfusion bags and other healthcare sector items have been exempted.

  • 55 out of 134 airports in India have been declared single-use plastics free by the Airports Authority of India.

  • As many as 20 states had issued to ban single-use plastics of one or all types before August 15,2019.

Rise of Plastic Consumption in India

Rise of Plastic Consumption in India

Rise of Plastic Consumption in India

Plastic Bag Bans Across India

Plastic Bag Bans Across India

Plastic Bag Bans Across India

Different Microns of Plastics

  • Plastic waste management and handling rules 2018, specifies that minimum thickness of plastic bags should be 40 - 50 microns.

  • The thickness of the bag determines the strength of the bag to break into small pieces.

  • The thinner the bag is the higher is the probability of its breakdown and mixing with the soil and water which seriously deteriorates the soil and Marine fauna.

  • No person shall manufacture stock distribute or sell any bag made of plastic which is less than 35 microns in the thickness less than 35 microns effectively banned.

Variation in Thickness of Plastic Bags Banned Across India

Variation in Thickness of Plastic Bags Banned Across India

Variation in Thickness of Plastic Bags Banned Across India

Health Effects

  • Single use plastics have contaminated the soil and water thereby posing significant ingestion, Chocking entanglement hazards to wildlife on the land and in the ocean.

  • When plastic breaks down into micro plastics, it becomes more difficult to detect and remove from open oceans.

  • High concentration of plastic materials particularly plastic bags has been found blocking the breathing passages and stomachs of different species especially in the oceans. The species in the oceans like turtles and dolphins who mistaken them for food.

  • Micro plastics injected by fish or other marine life can enter our food chain.

  • In developing countries with inadequate solid waste management regulations plastic bags can block sewage systems and providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes, plastic bags can raise the risk of transmission of vector borne diseases such as malaria.

  • Plastic adversely impact our respiratory system nervous system reproductive system.

  • Micro plastics already found in table salt and in both tap and bottled water. Research on the micro plastics have been growing still little is known about the exact impacts on human health.

Environmental Effects

Environmental Effects

Environmental Effects

Environmental Effects

  • Plastic bags can choke waterways and creates natural disasters. In 1988, poor drainage resulting from plastic bag litter clogging drains created devastating floods in Bangladesh, resulted in several deaths and two third of the country was submerged.

  • Poly-ethane carry bags are biggest problem amongst all the plastic waste plastic breaks into small pieces which remain in soil and water, which leads effect the crop yield and adversely affect marine life and eco system.

  • In 2005 floods in Mumbai killed thousands of people, also in the recent floods in Kerala; plastic waste was one of the reasons for devastation.

Mitigations of Plastic Pollution

Mitigations of Plastic Pollution

Mitigations of Plastic Pollution

Mitigations of Plastic Pollution

  • In order to phase out single use plastics alternatively, Eco Friendly alternatives can be promoted by working together with industries and government.

  • There should be proper solid waste management regulations in developing countries to mitigate the plastic pollution.

  • Encourage the industries which are working on carry bags or other items made by cloth and jute.

  • Completely ban on plastic bags which are below 35 microns.

  • Social awareness along with education is important to eradicate the plastic pollution.

- Published/Last Modified on: December 2, 2019

Environment/Ecology

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