The Government of India announced the implementation of a ban on a series of single use plastic items, including plates, cups and straws, in an initiative aimed at addressing pollution caused by unmanaged plastic waste.

According to government estimates, India generates approximately 3.5 million tonnes of plastic waste annually and per capita plastic waste generation has almost doubled over the last five years.

The ban, based on rules unveiled by the government last year, is effective immediately, and prohibits the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of the specified items. The government stated that it intends to set up enforcement teams to ensure implementation and compliance, along with border check points to stop inter-state movement of any of the banned items.

The list of banned items includes ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, polystyrene for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, and stirrers.

Additionally, plastic bags below a certain thickness will also be banned as of the end of the year.

In a statement announcing the implementation of the ban, the government said:

“The adverse impacts of littered single use plastic items plastic on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including in marine environment are globally recognized. Addressing pollution due to single use plastic items has become an important environmental challenge confronting all countries.”

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