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Single use plastic ban not effective in Delhi, finds study | Delhi News

Delhi has not been able to comply effectively with an India-wide ban on single-use plastic products that kicked in more than a year ago, according to a recent report.

The report by Toxics Link, an environmental research and advocacy organisation, found that out of the five cities that were surveyed for the use of now-banned single-use plastic items, Delhi was the least compliant city in terms of implementation of the ban, which kicked in in July last year.

Out of 140 survey points across 24 different location types in Delhi, 88% of the survey points were found to provide single-use plastic products. Survey points considered include metro stations, food stalls, small restaurants, street vendors, religious spots, markets, sweet shops, grocery stores, ice cream parlours, and malls.

Of the five cities, Bangalore was found to be most compliant with the ban, with single-use plastic products available at 55% of the survey points. In Gwalior, these items were found at 84% of the survey points, while the figure was 71% for Mumbai and 77% for Guwahati. The most abundantly found single-use plastic product in all cities was restricted carry bags, mainly carry bags of less than 120 microns, according to the report.

“Therefore, it is a matter of concern that almost one year after the ban, SUPPs (single-use plastic products) are available in more than half the survey points across the five cities in question,” the report stated.

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In Delhi, the survey found that 50% of the survey points still provide plastic cups and cutlery.

“The survey results indicate that the ban has not been very effective, as most location types in Delhi continue to use/provide these items. Whether it was weekly markets or grocery shops, street food vendors or small restaurants, SUPPs are available in all these locations. Hundred per cent of the surveyed vegetable shops, wholesale markets and chaat shops continue to provide restricted plastic carry bags. This is worrying as their numbers in the city are huge and these location types are large users of these carry bags,” the report said.

It added: “Plastic cups, cutlery and plates are commonly available at food stalls, local markets, bus depots and most party decoration shops. The only location type where no SUPPs could be observed are malls and ice cream parlours. If we look at it SUPP-wise, apart from plastic stirrers and ice-cream sticks, all other banned SUPPs are available in Delhi. Thermocol for decorations is available at all survey points checked for this product.”

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Items that are banned include plastic sticks for balloons and earbuds, plastic flags, ice cream sticks, thermocol for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses and cutlery like spoons and forks, straws, stirrers, trays, packing film around sweet boxes, cigarette packets, and cards.

The report identifies the lack of alternatives and the cost of these alternatives as a barrier to implementing the ban along with an uninterrupted supply of banned single-use plastic products in the market.

The report also pointed to its limitations — mid-range or high-end restaurants could not be checked for use of SUPPs because of lack of access to such places, the survey was only conducted in five cities, and the number of survey points was limited.

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