The government on Tuesday said 'Swachhata Hi Seva' campaign is not about banning the single-use plastic but creating awareness and a people's movement to curb its use. The comments came after news agency Reuters reported that India has ‘held off’ imposing a blanket ban on single-use plastics. The plan to outlaw six items, officials said on Tuesday, would have been disruptive for the industry at a time when it is coping with an economic slowdown and job losses.
According to the environment ministry, about 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day in the country and out of which, only 13,000-14,000 tonne are collected. Experts have maintained that the problem lies in inadequate collection and recycling systems.
The Swachhata Hi Seva campaign launched by the Hon'ble PM on 11th September 2019 is not about banning single use plastic but creating awareness and a people's movement to curb its use @PMOindia @moefcc https://t.co/ZTb4jtJ3t8— Swachh Bharat (@swachhbharat) October 1, 2019
Plastic waste is at epidemic proportions in the world's oceans with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date, according to the United Nations. Scientists have found large amounts of micro plastic in the intestines of deep-dwelling ocean mammals like whales.
India, which uses about 14 million tonnes of plastic annually, lacks an organised system for management of plastic waste, leading to widespread littering.
"The toxins, poisons and persistent pollutants present in some of these plastic products leach and enter human bodies where they cause several diseases, including cancer," said Chitra Mukherjee, head of advocacy and policy at Delhi-based Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group.
At a United Nations conference, the Prime Minister had said, "My government has announced that India would put an end to single-use plastics in the coming years. We are committed to the development of environment-friendly substitutes and also an efficient plastic collection and disposal method."