India generates 9.4 million tons of plastic waste every year, and how to clean it is a big problem. Prime Minister Modi promised to solve this problem by restricting the use of disposable plastic products. But experts warn that if India strictly restricts plastics, it may disrupt the supply chain and put more pressure on the economy, which has been the slowest in six years.
Modi's plastic reduction plan will limit the use of disposable plastic bags, cups, straws, and disposable tableware. It is hoped that it will be completely banned by 2022.
Unlike scrap metal that can be almost completely recycled and reused, about 90% of the world's plastic products are eventually treated as waste, causing global environmental and social costs of more than 2.2 trillion dollars annually.
In an effort to reduce disposable plastic waste, more than 60 countries have implemented bans and taxation. Many countries in Asia have tried to control plastic products and collect taxes on the bags, but the implementation has not been effective. According to the report of the United Nations in 2018, Africa is the continent that has implemented the ban on the production and use of plastic bags by most countries.
If India strictly restricts plastics, it may cause sequelae of job loss in the plastics industry. When India’s economic expansion is the weakest in six years and the unemployment rate has reached its highest in 45 years, it may increase economic risks.
Bison, a senior vice president of Technopak Consulting, said that if the Indian government bans disposable plastic products, it will disrupt the supply chain, increase the prices of daily necessities such as milk and biscuits, and impact industries such as food processing and consumer products. Bison said: "There should be other ways to replace plastic products. A suitable environment should be provided to encourage businesses to invest in recycling."
The world is facing the problem of processing plastic waste, but it is especially a serious challenge for India, because India's townships lack adequate waste treatment systems. At present, about 60% of the plastic waste has been recycled and reused, but the rest is either discarded by the roadside, enter the landfill, or flow into lakes and oceans.
The Federal Government of India has ordered the ban on light plastic bags, and some provinces have banned them completely, but the implementation of these regulations has been loose. Industry lobby groups advocate that this plastic restraint will impact small retailers. Gupta, president of the All India Plastics Industry Association, pointed out that some companies are seeking government exemptions and can receive subsidies during the transition period.