How the Plastic Ban Might Affect 3 Lakh Jobs in India?

Shalini Rath Shalini Rath
Jul 7, 2022 4 min read
How the Plastic Ban Might Affect 3 Lakh Jobs in India?

In our lives, there are things that have impacted us in some way or the other. Plastics are one of those things that have changed our lifestyle in a way we never thought possible.

As a result, plastics have been an integral part of our everyday needs. However, one of the most worrisome factors is that single-use plastics are impacting a negative impression on the environment.

Keeping the thoughts of climate change in mind, and the continuous increase in global warming caused by harmful gas emissions, the government of India has banned single-use plastics. Plastics have been a major part of diffusing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, thus affecting the quality of air.

The ban means it is now illegal to manufacture, import, or circulate a range of items from plastic cutlery, straws, bottles, and packaging films to polystyrene. Globally, single-use plastics account for almost 130 million tonnes annually. Due to this, plastic pollution has become a cause of immense concern.

What Does Single-Use Plastics Mean?
Why Did the Government Decide to Ban Single-Use Plastics?
How Will the Plastic Ban Affect the Plastic Industry and Jobs?
What Do the Experts Have to Say Regarding the Plastic Ban?

What Does Single-Use Plastics Mean?

The plastic items which are used only once and discarded are single-use plastics. It is regarded as one of the highest plastic shares manufactured from packaging items to face masks, bottles, food packaging, garbage bags, etc. Our country itself produces about 14 million tonnes of plastics each year.

Why Did the Government Decide to Ban Single-Use Plastics?

It is not only India that has announced to ban on plastics, Colombia's government as well has passed a law banning plastics. In the previous year, France also encouraged to ban plastics and refrained from using them to wrap vegetables and fruits.

Environmental experts claim that the concern is not the plastic, but that if it stays for a long period in the environment leading to serious issues as the microplastics can enter the soil, thus entering food sources and harming our health.

Over the past few years, many state governments have engaged in banning the use of plastics but failed to implement it properly. But this time, they are going to set up control rooms to keep a track of any illegal usage or distribution of SUP.

Plastic Waste in India
Plastic Waste in India

How Will the Plastic Ban Affect the Plastic Industry and Jobs?

Many State Governments have already initiated practices to curb the use of plastics from July 1, 2022. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has ruled out notices to all e-commerce companies, local shopkeepers, and commercial markets to stop using single-use plastics. Recently, the Kolkata Airport authority has also taken up the ban by putting up posters to stop using plastics.

The question here is: will the ban on single-use plastics impact employment opportunities?

Although the impact of the plastic ban can result in a loss of up to Rs 15,000 crore for the plastic industry, and nearly 3 lakh people might lose their job, chances are there is a much likely needed boost for other alternative sectors.

Perhaps, the ban on plastics will create job opportunities in brand new areas and sectors that nobody ever thought it before. The demand for other alternative sectors will automatically increase, such as cotton and jute industries, motivating tribal communities, and farming communities.

In India, there are many organisations that focus on creating eco-friendly products like the Madurai Jute Cluster. It is an organisation that trains many underprivileged women in making jute bags, folders, files, gifts, etc, without the use of plastics.

Another example of a non-government organisation called the Development of Women and Children (DWC) trust was started by Parameswari M, an engineer from Tamil Nadu who indulges in plastic-free products. The organisation trains women and children about the harmful effects of plastics on the environment. They help in creating banana fibres that have the ability to take over plastic packages.

There are many such communities and organisations that manufacture alternatives to plastics. However, the demand for alternatives is not that high, given that they are too expensive. For a jute industry, finding the right set of skilled workers is also a tough call for industrialists.

What Do the Experts Have to Say Regarding the Plastic Ban?

Economists believe that if one particular type of sector shuts down, it will automatically open doors for its alternative sector that will gradually boom creating a lot of employment opportunities.

If there is a loss of jobs due to this ban, then people who are working in plastic industries with basic skills will be transferred to some other sectors. The prohibition of plastics will immediately push up the demand for substitutes like cotton, paper, jute, bamboo, and many more.

If these cotton industries replace the plastic industries, then labourers will easily migrate there.

These days, customers are also slowly understanding the seriousness of the hazardous effects of plastics on the planet. There has also been a  growth in the use of recycled items.

In the latest guidelines issued by the government regarding the ban, they have asked suppliers to make them thicker to encourage their reuse. This gives a chance for the existing industries to alter the quality of plastic. Recycle waste industries will also offer employment opportunities due to the increasing need for recycled products.

Conclusion

The ban on plastics does seem like a good decision for the environment, however, it is hard to tell whether there can be a complete ban on plastics. The fact that banning single-use plastics will impact people in many ways, but it was inevitable in the larger interest of the welfare of society.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has requested to push the ban to next year in fear of the crash of many MSMEs and the sudden loss of jobs. The ban on SUP will take some time to come into effect. It is now up to the Government because they need to make significant investments in R&D and innovative technology to create alternative products.

FAQs

How would banning plastic affect businesses?

Banning plastic will shut down businesses that produce plastics which will result in the loss of jobs.

How does plastic affect our economy?

Plastic ban increase the prices of goods and services and the profit of manufacturers reduces which affects the economy.

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