Delhi bans disposable plastics

plastic bottles in India

India's capital city has taken a strong stand against plastic pollution, but now it needs to convince its residents.

India’s capital city, Delhi, has taken a courageous step toward fighting plastic pollution. In December 2016, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) voted to pass a law banning the use of all disposable plastics throughout the national capital region. This came into effect on January 1, 2017.

The decision applies to all disposable plastics, including produce bags, chai cups, and cutlery. While the change is meant to reduce the staggering amount of plastic pollution generated by India, not everyone is supportive of the change. Many fruit and vegetable vendors are concerned they will lose business, as customers will go elsewhere if they cannot get a bag in which to carry their purchases. Other wish there had been more time to get used to the idea of such a ban.

In the eyes of environmentalists, however, there is no time left to waste. India and four other Asian nations are the top plastic polluters in the world. They are responsible for an estimated 60 percent of the 8.8 million tons of plastic that are added to the world’s oceans each year. If current rates continue, Asia will be dumping 80 percent of the world’s plastic at a rate of 200 million tons a year by 2025. That’s not very far off, which means action is needed now.

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