Fact Check

India ‘Shelved’ the Ban on Single-use Plastics? Here Are the Facts

News agency Reuters ran a report titled India shelves plan on countrywide ban on single-use plastic products. This has been picked up by many publications such as India Today and The Economic Times.

This ‘source-based’ report is misleading for the simple reason that Indian administration had never really expressed an intention to ‘ban’ single-use plastics.

Did India commit to reducing the use of single-use plastics? Yes.

Did it propose the instrument of ‘ban’ to attain this goal? No.

The Facts

Both in the official communication and in media reports, it has always been evident that the government has resolved to reduce the use of single-use plastics but never really proposed any ‘blanket ban’.

Whether in his Independence Day Speech or in Mann Ki Baat episode on August 25, 2019 in which PM Modi has spoken about the fight against single-use plastics, it has been evident that the PM wants this fight to become a people’s movement that aimed at behavioral change in the society as the main element. All the while, there had been no indications of a ban on single-use plastics. If it was about banning something, the PM need not spend time to convince people. Last month in his visit to Mathura, the PM sat with the women who were segregating waste and extended a helping hand. If it was about a blanket ban, he might have done that with a stroke of a pen.

It is evident that PM Narendra Modi believes in achieving a greater and sustainable good only through people’s participation. He has often said so.

Reuters Own Assumption?

So, Reuters did both the things. It ‘imagined’ that there would be a ban on single-use plastics. When that’s not happened, clearly because the government had no such agenda in the first place, it seems Reuters filed another report to say that the ban plan has been ‘shelved’.

India Understands Banning is Not a Solution

Citing a study from the United Nations Environment Programme we have explained in our previous article that the idea of ban on single-use plastics is not seen on the global stage as well.

Though the world sees that single-use plastics are endangering the environment, especially the marine environment, very few countries are able to regulate the entire lifecycle of plastic bags. According to this report, only 55 countries comprehensively restrict the retail distribution of plastic bags, in tandem with restrictions on manufacturing, production, and imports.

So, it is evident that the world is not ready enough to shut the whole manufacturing industry related to single-use plastics. In this context, Modi government’s approach makes sense.

PM Modi is striving to create greater awareness on the issue of single-use plastics and also offering an economic model that helps especially women and village entrepreneurs in providing an alternative to single-use plastics. You can read all about them in our article India’s Resolve Against the Use of Single-use Plastics – How the Effort is Different from Others.