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Why is India's single-use plastic ban failing?

"There have to be incentives for this shiftManufacturers have to be told on no uncertain terms. At times the all-pervasive plastics, backed by the might of the plastics industry, really needs a tsunami to shake it up," Chaturvedi told DW. SMEs to be hit hardest.

India's per capita consumption of plastic at 11 kilograms per year is still among the lowest in the world. In 2020-21, India generated nearly 3.5 million tons of plastic, according to government figures provided by the country's 28 states and 8 union territories.

India's recycling capacity at 1.56 million tons per year is only half of the total of plastics generated. India lacks an organized plastic waste management system, resulting in widespread littering. What's more, the ban as it stands impacts the most vulnerable segments, especially the small and medium enterprises of the plastic industry, and potential job losses are also being overlooked.

"We want a clean India and are ready to transition. But why not focus on the root of the problem - plastic waste. We need to improve waste segregation and improve our recycling infrastructure," said Deepak Ballani, director-general of the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association. All stakeholders involved - producers of raw materials, plastic manufacturers, giant fast-moving consumer goods companies, and government entities - have their parts to play to make the ban a success.

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