India’s Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav, launched several green initiatives for plastic waste management on April 5, as reported by Economic Times on the same day. The minister proposed a state organ responsible for plastic waste management and the elimination of single-use plastic (SUP), together with a portal website that focuses on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and improves accountability, traceability, and transparency of plastic packaging. Producers, importers, and brand owners could also report their effort in compliance with EPR obligations on the website. Aside from that, the government designed a mobile app that enables citizens to check sales, usage, and manufacturing of SUP in their area and tackle the plastic menace.
The environment minister pointed out that India generates around 3.5m tons of plastic waste a year, and that the per-capita plastic waste generation almost doubled over the past five years. The increased burden on the ecosystems and the air pollution calls for effective plastic waste management in the country. In October 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to end the consumption of SUP in India by 2022. Last August, India also released new rules to reduce plastic pollution, banning most SUP from July 1, 2022. However, problems such as regulating the use of SUP alternatives, improving the recycling system, and optimizing waste segregation management still lie ahead for India. Statistically, only 60% of the plastic waste was recycled in India as of 2019.