India's Uttar Pradesh bans plastic, yet again

AFP . New Delhi | Update:

File photo of plastic wasteIndia's most populous state Uttar Pradesh, home to 220 million people, announced Friday a ban on plastic cups and polythene use from 15 July in its third such attempt.

Prime minister Narendra Modi has pledged to make India free of single-use plastic by 2022, and the majority of India's 29 states have a full or partial ban.

However the law is rarely enforced and Uttar Pradesh's previous two attempts since 2015 have failed because local authorities refused to implement it, even after court orders.

"We have decided to impose a complete ban on plastic in the state from 15 July," the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, said on Twitter.

"I urge everyone to stop use of plastic cup, glass and polythene after 15 July. I seek your support to make the ban a success," he said.

Details of the proposed ban have yet to be announced, however.

Like in other Indian states, plastic pollution has been a major contributor to pollution of Uttar Pradesh's rivers, and urban areas are often strewn with plastic bags and bottles.

The Indian government had also declared the area around the Taj Mahal, which is in the state, a plastic-free zone.

Last month a ban on single-use plastics came into force in the 110-million-strong state of Maharashtra, home to India's commercial capital Mumbai.

It covers their manufacture, usage, transport, distribution, wholesale and retail sale, storage as well as import.

Some 250 officials, wearing blue uniforms and dubbed Mumbai's "anti-plastic squad", have been deployed to carry out inspections of restaurants and shops in Mumbai.

However there has been considerable confusion and lobbying efforts, reportedly including from multinational companies, have succeeded in watering down the regulations.

India generates around 5.6 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, according to government figures. Plastic has also been found inside dead cows in India.

A United Nations report warned that at current levels the planet could be awash with 12 billion tonnes of plastic trash by the middle of the century.

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