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article imageIndia vows to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022

By Karen Graham     Jun 6, 2018 in Environment
India has vowed to ban all single-use plastics by 2022, according to the U.N.'s environmental agency, which called it an "unprecedented ambitious move against disposable plastic."
The announcement was made Tuesday by India's minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on World Environment Day, according to the agency. The initiative seeks to stem the flow of plastic pollution coming from the 1.3 billion people living in the fastest growing economy in the world.
Under the theme: “Beat Plastic Pollution”, World Environment Day 2018 issued a call to action to individuals, governments, the public and the private sector to examine joint solutions to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife, and our own health.
“The choices that we make today will define our collective future,” said Modi on Tuesday, reports The Guardian. “The choices may not be easy. But through awareness, technology, and a genuine global partnership, I am sure we can make the right choices. Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live.”
UN Comprehensive Global Assessment on Plastic Pollution
The UN also released its 2018 report on plastic pollution in commemoration of World Environment Day. The global assessment was developed in cooperation with the Indian Government and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and presents case studies from more than 60 countries.
“The assessment shows that action can be painless and profitable – with huge gains for people and the planet that help avert the costly downstream costs of pollution,” said Erik Solheim Head of UN Environment, in the report’s foreword. “Plastic isn’t the problem. It’s what we do with it.”
An ESA Basic Activities project is investigating the feasibility of measuring plastic litter found i...
An ESA Basic Activities project is investigating the feasibility of measuring plastic litter found in the ocean from orbit.
ESA/J. Veiga
Without a doubt, India's initiative is probably the most ambitious yet in the battle to stop plastic pollution. The UN report singled out initiatives taking place in 60 countries around the globe, and that is an impressive number.
One of the most effective strategies to limit the overuse of disposable plastic products has been government levies and outright bans on plastics, according to the report. However, the report goes on to cite the fundamental need for broader cooperation from business and private sector stakeholders.
Some initiatives around the globe
In April this year, more than 40 companies, including Britain’s biggest supermarkets, Coca-Cola, Nestle and Procter & Gamble, bowed to growing pressure to tackle pollution by committing to cut plastic use over the next seven years.
Almost 90 percent of the world s seabirds have plastics in their intestines.
Almost 90 percent of the world's seabirds have plastics in their intestines.
Chris Jordan/Greenpeace
And while a tax on single-use plastic bags in the UK has cut down on their use, critics say Theresa May’s, pledge to end “avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042” was far too slow.
This initiative is a unique collaboration of businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste, pledging that 100 percent of plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by a target date of 2025.
Going back to August 28, 2017, a ban on plastic bags came into force in Kenya. The ban covers the use, manufacture, and importation of plastic carrier bags, and was carried through after the High Court threw out a challenge brought by importers who claimed jobs would be lost and livelihoods threatened.
The British government will extend a charge on plastic bags to all businesses and encourage supermar...
The British government will extend a charge on plastic bags to all businesses and encourage supermarkets to introduce plastic-free aisles
Justin TALLIS, AFP
The August ban on plastics is the third time in a decade that Kenya has tried to impose a plastic bag ban but they are such a visible blight on the landscape that the ban has widespread support.
And in the latest initiative to address the issue of plastic waste and pollution, Canada's plastics makers have set their own targets for keeping all plastic out of Canadian landfills by 2030. The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) came out with the announcement on Monday, one day ahead of World Environment Day.,
Writing in the Guardian on Tuesday, UN Environment chief Erik Solheim pointed out that we began our love affair with plastic over 100 years ago, and "since we began our love affair with this now ubiquitous material, we’ve produced roughly nine billion tonnes of plastic."
This island of plastic waste  which includes bags  spoons and bottles  floats off the coast of Roata...
This island of plastic waste, which includes bags, spoons and bottles, floats off the coast of Roatan, Honduras
Handout, CAROLINE POWER PHOTOGRAPHY/AFP
"Now" he wrote, "after a century of unchecked production and consumption, convenience has turned to crisis." And Eric leaves us with a picture of the future - If we do nothing.
"But let there be no doubt: we are on edge of a plastic calamity. Current projections show that global plastic production will skyrocket in the next 10-15 years. This year alone, manufacturers will produce an estimated 360 million tonnes. With a booming population driving demand, production is expected to reach 500 million by 2025 and a staggering 619 million tonnes by 2030. So the next time you see scenes of plastic choking a river or burying a beach, consider double that impact in just over 10 years.
More about India, singleuse plastics, World environment day, UN Environment, Plastic pollution