What does single-use plastic ban mean for Sadar Bazar's traders
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What does single-use plastic ban mean for Sadar Bazar's traders

From July 1, the Centre has banned the sale and manufacturing of single-use plastic items

What does single-use plastic ban mean for Sadar Bazar's traders

As we all know, single-use plastic has been banned in India from July 1, 2022, to curb plastic pollution. The Centre has banned several single-use plastics, including products made of polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, from being manufactured, distributed, imported, sold, stored, and used.

To understand and examine the situation more closely, CitySpidey visited Asia's biggest wholesale market Sadar Bazar where people from different cities come to buy items at much lower prices. Here, lane 11 is solely dedicated to selling plastic items including plastic bags, plastic wrapping material and others. An air of confusion and despair looms large over the market.

According to the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of plastic carry bags having a thickness less than 75 microns had already been banned with effect from 30 September 2021. Now, bags with thickness less than 120 microns will be banned from 31 December 2022. Plastic bags which are thicker than what is mentioned above will be allowed.

Workers at JDGM, a shop dealing in plastic items, were seen moving and packing their goods. Mohd Ali, shop owner of says, "We are packing all the items from the shop and returning to our village. The MCD has asked us to clear our business by July 9, 2022. Let's see what will be the alternative."

CitySpidey asked them what will they do after this? Another salesman from the shop says, "15 of us here have become unemployed because of the plastic ban. No order has been placed in the past ten days. People are scared to buy due to the rules and regulations. In short, our business is doomed. We are going back home till the time we don't get work."

This lane selling plastic is now converted into a paper bag lane. From small to medium-scale shops, there has been a ban on single-use plastic. The shopkeepers were scared that if found selling, MCD would seize their business.

As we moved towards the inner lanes, we saw a lot of paper bags hanging outside the plastic selling shops. As gathered by shopkeepers, some sellers are hiding business behind rows of paper bags. One could see bundles of polythenes by observing closely. However, when CitySpidey tried to reach out, they refused to accept that they ever sold plastic bags or are still selling. Although the risk of getting caught is very high, they have no alternative to earning.

The single-use plastic ban is undoubtedly a good move to conserve the environment. However, here at Sadar Bazar, we could see that it shattered the small businesses for whom selling plastic items was the only livelihood. Many of them stare at an uncertain future.

Credits: Shantanu Das for CitySpidey

Nevertheless, we met one shop owner who hopes for a solution. Ayur plastics owner, Anil says, "We have closed the sale of polybags till the time we don't get a new alternative. There would be a difference in our sales margins. The profits will be less, but let us hope we get a competitive alternative to plastic items soon." Anil believes banning single-use plastic was the right choice. Says he, " Plastic has been consistently harming our environment. Cows and many other animals, unknowingly tend to consume them, which leads to their deaths or hazardous diseases."

Plastic trash is a significant hazard to the ecosystem since it persists there for a long time and doesn't decompose, eventually transforming into microplastics that find their way into our food supplies and the human body. The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that 300 million tonnes of plastic are manufactured worldwide yearly, 14 million tonnes of which end up in the ocean.