India To Ban Single-Use Plastics In Celebration Of Gandhi’s Birthday

As the single-use plastics crisis continues to wreak havoc on our oceans and coastlines, more nations are waking up to do something about it. The latest to step up is India, which is using the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday to ban them this year.

Gandhi is a legendary leader who advocated for peaceful protest to achieve goals such as Indian independence from Great Britain. His non-violent approach inspired the Civil Rights Movement in the United States to use the same tactics, and they have since been repeated around the globe.

So, it is only fitting that India’s effort to save the planet from single-use plastics marks the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth in 1869.

On October 2nd of this year, India will ban six of the most pervasive single-use plastics in our world from the country, including plastic plates, bottles, bags, straws, cups and condiment packets.

“The ban will be comprehensive and will cover manufacturing, usage and import of such items,” an official said, according to EcoWatch.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month in a speech urging his people and government to “take the first big step” toward eliminating plastics.

And government agencies in India have responded swiftly and decisively, even going so far as to ban the plastics earlier than the October 2nd date.

According to The Times of India:

Ministries and departments have moved fast to shun the use of single-use plastic and some of them have even put immediate bans. While road transport ministry has ordered to stop their use “with immediate effect”, food and consumer affairs departments have directed to use of single-use plastics after September 15.

Housing and urban affairs ministry was one of the early movers which banned use of single-use plastic water bottles and has gone a step ahead t even replace plastic files with paper-made files. Use of single-use plastic water bottles has been stopped in the Parliament complex.

Union food minister Ram Vilas Paswan said he did not spot a single singl-use plastic water bottle or other items when he took round of 50 rooms in his ministry on Thursday.

“The message has gone down very well. We won’t wait for September 15.”

Needless to say, this is a welcome action by India that will provide relief to marine species around the world that are threatened by plastic every day. Whales, in particular, are susceptible to plastic because they mistake it for prey such as squid or filter microplastics into their digestive tract while eating plankton.

As a result, many whales are being found dead with plastic clogging their gut.

In addition, fish and birds also die from eating plastic, and microplastics are even found inside human bodies as even the most remote places on Earth have been tainted with plastic waste.

Simply put, it’s everywhere. And unless more nations take action like India, plastics will bury our world and will be the end of us.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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