On July 1, 2022, the ban on 19 single-use plastic (SUP) items came into force. Four months later, Delhi had logged 634 complaints on the Central Pollution Control Board’s app — the highest in the country — but only 59% of them have been redressed, according to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)’s annual State of Environment (SoE) report.
The findings, released on Thursday, also said the ban is being poorly executed, with SUP items still being frequently found across the country.
CSE had analysed CPCB data through its app, launched in April 2022, that allowed people to submit complaints of manufacturing, production, stocking, sale or usage of SUP items. CSE says this, however, did not prove to be too effective, with complaints mounting up. By September 2022, two months after the ban was imposed, the volume of complaints received from residents of 21 states and union territories stood at 3,619.
By November 2022, the number complaints had reached 5,071, with participation from 22 states and UTs, but only 1,148 or 22.6% of these were redressed, CSE said.
“New Delhi reported the highest complaints during that period at 634, followed by Lucknow (294) and Ghaziabad (215). Of these total complaints, 1,657 complaints were filed against cutlery items, 1,286 against carry bags and 1,033 against other items,” the report said. Out of Delhi’s 634 complaints, only 377 had been redressed at that point, it said.
CSE had also launched its own survey between July-December 2022 where citizens were asked to submit geotagged photos of the banned SUP items in their area, similar to the CPCB app. The survey found the highest reporting of the banned items came from Maharashtra (14.29%), followed by Delhi (12.24%).
Out of all these complaints, plastic carry bags were sighted most commonly (35.53% of all complaints), followed by banned plastic straws (22.37%) and plastic cutlery (18.42%), findings of the survey revealed.
“The complaints were received from across the length and breadth of the country indicating that the enforcement of the national ban has been extremely poor in all parts of the country,” the report said.
Siddharth Singh, programme manager, Solid Waste Management unit at CSE, who was part of the survey, said that currently, most states have not been able to target the source of SUPs, with the number of campaigns on awareness around the banned SUP also gradually going down. “We are seeing a lack of intention from the side of the regulators in most states. The number of advertisements around banned SUP items has gone down drastically as compared to when the ban first came and we are still getting these items in the market, meaning the production has not been impacted. There is also less fear now of people being fined,” Singh said.