India has imposed a national ban on single-use plastics to reduce pollution on Friday July 1.
The country produces over 25,000 tons of plastic waste every single day, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.
The ban, which will be rolled out in three stages, will prohibit manufacturing, importing, stocking, distributing, selling and using single-use plastic, including polystyrene.
As part of the first phase, 19 single-use plastic items are now banned, including straws, cutlery, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice cream packaging and cigarette packets.
Violators will potentially face five-year jail imprisonment, a fine of 100,000 rupees (US$1265) or both, according to the Guardian.
The public has complained the government did not leave enough time for them to transition, according to The Guardian.
Vendors are concerned that the ban will affect their business due to substituting plastic bags with a higher cost of paper bags.
The government first proposed in 2018 to ban single-use plastic items based on an index of their utility and environmental impact.
To ease the tension, the government has exempted plastic bags but asked manufacturers and importers to increase the thickness to promote reuse, according to CNN.
“Pollution due to single-use plastic items has become an important environmental challenge confronting all countries,” the government said.