Delhi generates almost 250,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year, according to Toxics Link, an environmental NGO. That means that over 10 million plastic bags are used and discarded daily by the 16 million residents.
Not only do these bags clutter the streets and parks of the city, but they also pose health risks to animals and humans because of the toxins contained in the bags. In response to these issues, the city’s Chief Minister Sheila Dixit wants to ban the use of plastic bags completely.
Pradeep Gupta, a Delhi administration official, said, “The government will promote alternatives such as jute, cloth and recycled paper bags and we will begin a serious campaign.” Violators of the ban could get fined up to 100,000 rupees and/or up to five years in prison.
Of course, some are in disagreement with the ban out of concern for the 20,000 people who could be left jobless, and environmentalists wonder how the government could possibly monitor and enforce such a ban. Introducing cheap alternatives, such as reusable shopping bags, is going to be an important element in the success of the ban.