India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, home to 220 million people, on Friday 6 July, announced a plastic ban on items including plastic cups and polythene from July 15, in its third such attempt.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to make India free of single-use plastic by 2022, and the majority of India’s 29 states have a full or partial ban. However the law is rarely enforced, and Uttar Pradesh’s previous two attempts since 2015 have failed because local authorities refused to implement it, even after court orders.
हमने 15 जुलाई से पूरे प्रदेश में प्लास्टिक को प्रतिबंधित करने का फैसला लिया है। मैं आह्वान करता हूं कि 15 जुलाई के बाद प्लास्टिक के कप, ग्लास और पॉलिथीन का इस्तेमाल किसी भी स्तर पर न हो। इसमें आप सभी की सहभागिता जरूरी होगी: #UPCM श्री #YogiAdityanath pic.twitter.com/z6JzEmk38C
— CM Office, GoUP (@CMOfficeUP) July 6, 2018
“We have decided to impose a complete ban on plastic in the state from July 15,” the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, said on Twitter. “I urge everyone to stop use of plastic cup, glass and polythene after July 15. I seek your support to make the ban a success.” he said.
The plastic ban was again enforced in January 2016 and 2017, but everytime authorities failed to implement the ban effectively.
State-wide ban on plastic products in Maharashtra came into effect on June 23. In Maharashtra, a fine of Rs. 5,000 is levied on first time violators, second and third time violators are charged Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 25,000 respectively. Third time offenders can also face upto three months of imprisonment.
Details of the proposed plastic ban have yet to be announced, however. Like in other Indian states, plastic pollution has been a major contributor to pollution of Uttar Pradesh’s rivers, and urban areas are often strewn with plastic bags and bottles.
The Indian government had also declared the area around the Taj Mahal, which is in the state, a plastic-free zone.
The UP government’s order comes after the Maharashtra government’s state-wide plastic ban on the use of items including carry-bags and thermocol, came into effect from June 23. Last month the ban on single-use plastics came into force in the 110-million-strong state of Maharashtra, home to India’s commercial capital: Mumbai. It covers their manufacture, usage, transport, distribution, wholesale and retail sale, storage as well as import.
Some 250 officials, wearing blue uniforms and dubbed Mumbai’s “anti-plastic squad”, have been deployed to carry out inspections of restaurants and shops in Mumbai. However there has been considerable confusion and lobbying efforts, reportedly including from multinational companies, have succeeded in watering down the regulations.
India generates around 5.6 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, according to government figures. Plastic has also been found inside dead cows in India.
A United Nations report warned that at current levels the planet could be awash with 12 billion tonnes of plastic trash by the middle of the century.