New Delhi: In an effort to curb ocean pollution, the Canadian government on Monday (June 11) pledged to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a press conference that the plastic products expected to be banned include cotton swabs, cutlery, plates, straws, bags and drink stirrers. Underlining the harmful effects of using plastic, the Canadian PM has asserted that the ban should be implemented as soon as possible. He told the reporters,
It is difficult to find areas at beaches that are not littered with plastic. Dead whales have been found with all kinds of plastics in them too.
PM Trudeau in a tweet said,
Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. 15 billion plastic bags a year. 57 million straws a day. They end up in our oceans, beaches, parks and streets. And this has to stop. We owe it to our planet, and to our kids.
Plastic pollution is a problem we can’t afford to ignore. Today our government announced we'll:
✅Ban harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021
✅Make companies accountable for their plastic waste
✅Support job-creating innovation & promote affordable, safe alternatives
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 10, 2019
Canada has joined the list of several countries who have pledged to ban at least some kind of single-use plastics. While some countries have laid out a definitive timeline by when they expect to implement a 100 per cent ban, others have banned certain types of one-time use plastics or have regulated taxes on these products, nation-wide. According to a United Nations Environment Programme report titled ‘Single-Use Plastics – A Road Map For Sustainability’ here are some of the countries who have a plan in place to take on the plastic menace.
In 2018, on the occasion of the 45th World Environment Day (June 5) Prime Minister Modi’s government announced their ambitious plan to ban all single-use plastic items including carry bags, straws, and water bottles, among others from the country by 2022.
On the historic #WED2018 occasion, I #pledged to eliminate all #SingleUsePlastics from the face of India by 2022. The India that @narendramodi envisions #NewIndia2022 shall be free of single use plastics @ErikSolheim @UNEnvironment @PMOIndia @BJP4India @moefcc pic.twitter.com/0N69NDdAky
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) June 5, 2018
According to a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report, India generates 5.6 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, and the country accounts for 60 per cent of plastic waste dumped into the world’s oceans every year. Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra are among top ten rivers which carry 90 per cent of plastic to the world’s oceans.
To reduce the plastic waste generation, nearly 26 states in India have imposed a blanket or partial ban on plastics. However, the ban remains ineffective in majority of the states as there is widespread availability and demand for polythene bags.
Considering the current state-wise status and failing to follow through the directions by CPCB, it would be particularly surprising to see India keeping its commitment by the given deadline of 2022.
Africa’s Rwanda announced a ban on the production, use, importation and sale of all types of plastic bags and plastic packaging 11 years ago in 2008. To sustain the ban, the country can serve a six month jail sentence if caught with any single-use plastic other than publicly shaming the plastic user.
In the first phase, the ban resulted in a rise in the black market for plastic bags. However, over time people have accepted the plastic-free culture and plastic bags have been efficiently replaced by paper bags, the UNEP study suggests. Presently, the ban has become so stringent that when a tourist enters the country, their bags and other belonging are checked to prevent them from bringing plastic bags to the country. As the Tourism website for the country states,
Please refrain from bringing plastic bags to Rwanda. Banned by law since 2008, any plastic bags in your luggage will be confiscated at the airport or other point of entry.
This significant step has not only set a standard for other African nations to follow but has also resulted in making Rwanda one of the cleanest nations in Africa.
The European Union came up with their first ever ‘Plastics Strategy’ in January 2018 and in April 2019 all the countries part of the European Union (EU), pledged to eliminate 10 most used single-use plastic by 2021. The banned products include cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of single-use plastic, for which eco-friendly alternatives exist.
Today, we unveil our first-ever European #PlasticsStrategy with great ambitions in mind: reduce single-use plastics, restrict microplastics and ensure that all plastics packaging placed on EU market are recyclable by 2030. Thread. https://t.co/TbuKdVALB8 pic.twitter.com/RkyPbA1fmf
— European Commission ???????? (@EU_Commission) January 16, 2018
As part of the commitment, member states already have local and regional ban in place and aim to achieve a 90 per cent collection target for plastic bottles by 2029. The commitment further aims to make plastic bottles that contain at least 25 per cent of recycled content by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030.
When it comes to the United Kingdom, the country announced their plan to ban items like plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in April 2018. Back then Prime Minister Theresa May announced the ban noting that plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges the country faces.
The ban follows the implementation of a charge on plastic bags and a ban on microbead (the tiny beads of plastics which are found in products such as exfoliating face scrubs and toothpastes), both of which produced a noticeable decrease in plastic pollution in the country, the UN study suggests. After UK’s war on single-use plastic bags, its use dropped by 90 percent, equaling 9 billion less plastic bags being used, the UK government has claimed.
China imposed a ban on single-use plastic bags in 2008 and started charging money for the thick plastic bags, This resulted in a decrease of 60-80 percent in the use of plastic bag in the Chinese supermarkets, as per a UNEP report. Prior to 2008 about 3 billion plastic bags were used in China every day, creating more than 3 million tons of garbage each year. The report further states that the ban has been effectively enforced in food markets and among small retailers.
On 5 June 2017, World Environment Day, the Costa Rica government announced a National Strategy to phase out all forms of single-use plastics by 2021 and replace them with alternatives that biodegrade within six months.
The ban aims at eliminating plastic bags, bottles, plastic cutlery, straws, Styrofoam containers and coffee stirrers. According to the UNEP report, the national strategy implemented by the country promotes the substitution of single-use plastic through five actions – municipal incentives, policies and institutional guidelines for suppliers, replacement of single-use plastic products, research and development, and investment in strategic initiatives.
In implementing this ‘360-degree-ban’, the government is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), local governments, civil society and private sector groups.
New Zealand is one of the highest urban waste producers per capita in the developed world, according to the World Bank.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in 2018 pledged to phase out single-use plastics by 2019, in a bid to “look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand’s clean, green reputation,” she told the reporters.
The move came after a petition launched by a group of high school students calling on the central government to impose NZ$ 0.10 levy on all plastic bags in supermarkets got more than 65,000 signatures. However, as per the ban, New Zealand retailers are given until July 2019 to stop providing the single-use bags, or face fines of up to NZ $100,000.
#BeatPlasticPollution: Plastic Pollution Crisis
It is estimated that one million birds and over 100,000 marine mammals die or get injured when they get caught in plastic or ingest it. The UNEP report also highlights that only nine per cent of the nine billion tonnes of plastic the world has ever produced has been recycled. Most end up in landfills, dumps or in the ocean. The study also lists the most common single-use plastics found in the environment, these include cigarette butts, plastic drinking bottles, plastic bottle caps, food wrappers, plastic grocery bags, plastic lids, straws and stirrers, other types of plastic bags, and foam take-away containers.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.