Delhi Imposes Plastic Bag Blanket Ban

Plastic Bag Ban

Plastic Bag Ban

In certain parts of the UK, Wales in particular, there is a 5 pence charge on plastic bags to encourage people to reuse them but busy shoppers often have other things on their mind, it’s common to forget to chuck a few plastic bags in your bag or handbag when heading out on a shopping trip.

Some people argue that 5 pence for a carrier bag may not break the bank, but it’s literally costing the Earth. Irresponsible use of plastic bags are responsible for killing thousands of marine animals and 1 million birds each year, as well as polluting the planet’s atmosphere from the extrusion of chemicals during manufacture, transportation and the recycling of those that can be.

Once upon a time before the plastic pandemic, the world relied on using paper bags for their groceries. Now the Indian capital, Delhi, has banned the use of plastic bags in favour of paper and other materials.

The capital had introduced a partial ban in 2009, but with little success a complete ban seemed the only option and in November 2012, Delhi imposed a blanket ban on plastic bags. Hitting people with a fine of 100,000 rupees (£1,133) or a five-year prison sentence for the use or storage of plastic bags, Delhi has taken a step in the right direction in controlling the overuse of these harmful items.

Responsible Plastic Bag Recycling

Responsible Plastic Bag Recycling

The government stated that plastic bags are a “grave threat to the environment if not managed properly” and with blocked drains and sewage systems due to the bags, not only are they a threat to the environment but a health concern to us and wildlife. Awareness campaigns in the city have been carried out by the government to discourage the use of plastic bags.

Delhi is not the only place where plastic bags are banned. Several other cities and countries across the globe have bans and restrictions, including Bangladesh where plastic bags have been banned since 2002 when it was discovered that they were responsible for the floods of 1988 and 1998.

These positive steps to reduce the manufacture, use and subsequent disposal of plastic bags will help conserve and protect our environment, and ultimately, the wildlife and us.

However, the real issue is not the manufacture or sale of plastic bags, it is the way in which people discard the bags. The whole point of a plastic bag is to provide a water resistant, flexible carrier which you can reply on (mostly) to get your heavy shopping home, it was designed with a specific purpose in mind and fills that need. The plastic bag really cannot be beaten for convenience, reliability and storage (you can easily for several plastic bags into a coat pocket for later use).

There are other options as already mentioned such as paper, but all manufacturing processes carry some level of harm to the environment and our attitudes towards a throwaway society must  surely change before we can lay blame on a product which, for many years has been an invaluable aid in shopping trips and other uses such as bin bags and flexible packaging.

Generally, the UK has very low levels of plastic bag pollution, unfortunately in India, the level of pollution already reached by people discarding plastic bags and not recycling them has led to this drastic measure of banning the plastic bag, but it is easy to blame the humble plastic bag, when in actual fact it is the throw-away attitude of us humans which needs to change.

Did You Know? 500 billion – 1 trillion plastic bags are used in the world each year!

Article by Emma Walters

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