- NGT ordered a ban of disposal plastic glasses in Delhi from Jan 1, 2017
- Till date, Government has not passed any guidelines for the ban
- The aim of the ban is to tackle plastic waste pollution
“Why would I sell tea for Rs. 10 chai in an expensive paper cup when I can sell it in a plastic cup that costs much less. I have heard about the ban in Delhi, but I am still getting these low-cost plastic glasses in the market. When I have no other choice, then I might go and follow the order,” says the owner of a tea stall in South Delhi’s Greater Kailash. He is one of the many small shop owners who continue to use plastic despite the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on disposable plastic glasses in Delhi NCR. The ban came into effect on January 1, 2017, and aims to tackle the massive environmental damage being caused by plastics. One of the major reasons why the ban is ineffective till date is that the Delhi Government has not yet passed any law or guidelines regarding the plastic ban.
Another tea shop vendor a few streets away said that he was not even aware of the NGT’s plastic ban order. Not just that, he has faced no problem so far in procuring plastic glasses from the market.
Till now I know nothing about the plastic ban, I am also getting plastic glasses from my wholesaler easily. Till the time I am getting my supplies, I will continue to use it.
That seems to be the crux of the problem with implementing the plastic ban – the lack of enforcement by government authorities. While the ban has been in effect for more than 3 months now, shops have not been notified yet, simply because there are no guidelines passed by Delhi Government. Manufacturers continue to produce plastic cups which then are freely available in the market.
Nothing has been done till date by the government regarding the plastic ban order. If an order needs to be effective then it needs to be adopted by small and big vendors together. Partial implementation will not work. For a chai-wala to know about the plastic ban, the government needs to pass a law. Currently, the enforcement is missing, says R.K Goyal, Consultant in NGT.
Big Brands Welcome NGT’s Plastic Ban Order
While small vendors remain ignorant, big brands like McDonalds, KFC, and Starbucks have already started executing NGT’s plastic ban order effectively. McDonalds outlets in Delhi have swapped their iced tea plastic cups with paper cups and Starbucks has said goodbye to their traditional plastic coffee cups.
When National Green Tribunal banned the use of plastic in Delhi, we immediately started working on an eco-friendly operation across all our restaurants. Today, no KFC restaurants in Delhi uses plastic in any way, whether it is packaging or even cutlery, says Mr. Lluis Ruiz Ribot, Chief Marketing Officer, KFC India.
He also added that the brand has moved from plastic to more sustainable materials like paper for packaging and wooden cutlery (spoons).
The Floor Manager of McDonalds in Saytam Cinema Complex, Nehru Place, Rohit Taneja said, Earlier we used to serve iced tea in our traditional plastic cups, but after NGT’s order on the plastic ban, McDonalds as a brand has completely switched to paper cups. When the ban came in effect, we were aware; we knew we had to make a switch sooner or later.
Enforcement Necessary For The Ban To Be Effective: NGT
Even though the NGT had directed all the concerned civic bodies including the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), local bodies of Delhi – East, South and North Municipal Corporation Bodies, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Central Pollution Control Board and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to effectively reduce the dump of plastic waste, currently all authorities remain clueless. Till date, neither has a definitive framework been implemented nor any steps taken for the ban to take effect.
We are waiting for Delhi Government to pass some order regarding the ban then only we can take the matter ahead, says Pradeep Khandewal from East Delhi Municipal Corporation.
Plastic Waste: A Killer
India produces more than 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste every single day. Out of which, 6,000 tonnes remain uncollected and littered. World Economic Forum study shows that by 2050, oceans will have more plastic than fish. Plastic is one of the worst pollutants in the world – It clogs up our rivers and oceans, and eradicates the marine life. More than 1 million of birds, and around 100,000 whales, sharks, seals, dolphins and turtles die every single year because of plastic pollution.
Next hearing of NGT with the authorities will take place on 25th April 2017 to discuss the status of the ban.