New rules for plastic use in Odisha’s parks


The Odisha government has announced a ban on single-use plastic in national parks, tiger reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, and eco-tourism sites starting from April 1.


GS-03 (Environmental Pollution & Degradation)

Single-Use Plastic:

  • Single-use plastic refers to disposable plastic items that are used once and then discarded.
  • It includes various items like packaging, bottles (for shampoo, detergents, cosmetics), polythene bags, face masks, coffee cups, cling film, trash bags, and food packaging.
  • Single-use plastic constitutes a significant portion of global plastic production, estimated at one-third.
  • Approximately 98% of single-use plastics are made from fossil fuels.
  • Despite its short lifespan, single-use plastic contributes to a majority of plastic waste globally, with 130 million metric tonnes discarded in 2019.
  • Disposal methods: Burning, landfilling, and direct littering, leading to environmental pollution.
  • The production and disposal of single-use plastic contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • By 2050, it is projected that single-use plastic could contribute 5-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • India’s Status:
    • India ranks among the top 100 countries in terms of single-use plastic waste generation, standing at 94th place.
    • With an annual domestic production of 11.8 million metric tonnes and imports of 2.9 million metric tonnes, India generates approximately 5.6 million metric tonnes of single-use plastic waste annually.

Plastic Waste:

  • Plastic waste, unlike biodegradable materials, remains in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years due to its non-biodegradable nature.
  • Major sources of polluting plastic waste include microplastics, single-use plastics, and unsustainable packaging.
  • Microplastics, including microbeads and microfibers, result from the breakdown of larger plastic items due to sun exposure and physical wear.
  • Single-use plastics like bags, bottles, straws, and packaging contribute significantly to pollution.
  • Issues:
    • India faces challenges related to the volume of plastic waste generated per person, unsustainable packaging practices, and the surge in plastic waste from online deliveries.
    • Plastic pollution disrupts the food chain, affecting organisms from plankton to larger animals.

Challenges in Plastic Waste Management:

  • Plastic waste management involves collecting and recycling plastic materials, but both steps face challenges in execution. Ragpickers play a significant role in plastic waste collection, with limited involvement from local authorities.
  • Despite government claims of high plastic recycling rates, data analysis suggests a much lower recycling rate. Burning of plastic waste remains a common practice, contributing to environmental pollution.

India’s Initiatives for Plastic Waste Management:

  • India launched a nationwide campaign against single-use plastics, along with a mobile app for grievance redressal.
  • Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2022, prohibit several single-use plastic items and introduce Extended Producer Responsibility.
  • The India Plastics Pact brings stakeholders together to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics.
  • Initiatives like Project REPLAN and the mascot ‘Prakriti’ aim to raise awareness and provide sustainable alternatives to plastic usage.