No More Throw Away Cups and Straws as India Bans Disposable Plastics

Jul, 2022

Vocabulary list 

• Students read each word followed by the definition, focusing on the correct pronunciation.

• The teacher reads the sample sentence and the students repeat, focusing on the correct pronunciation.

• After reading the list, students try to make their own example sentences using the words that are new to them. 

• Students share their example sentences and the teacher gives feedback, correcting errors if necessary.

stock (verb)

stɒk

to ensure that items or goods are supplied and available for sale or use

We’ve stocked the kitchen with plenty of food and drink for Christmas.

 

phase [sth.] out (phrasal verb)

feɪz aʊt

to gradually stop a process or the use of something in stages

The government has announced a plan to phase out sales of gas-powered cars.

 

greenhouse gasses (noun)

ɡriːn.haʊs ˈɡæs.ɪz

gasses, like carbon dioxide, that contribute to the acceleration of global warming

Encouraging the use of electric vehicles is part of a global effort to reduce harmful greenhouse gasses being released into the atmosphere.

 

accelerate (verb)

əkˈsel.ə.reɪt

to happen or make something happen sooner or faster

A good immigration lawyer will help to accelerate the visa application process.

 

emissions (noun)

ɪˈmɪʃ.ənz

harmful substances that are produced and sent out into the air

Your car failed its MOT because the exhaust emissions exceeded the legal limit.

 

lobby (verb)

ˈlɒb.i

to influence governments to support legislation that favours your company or group

The oil and gas industry in the US spend millions lobbying members of Congress.

 

exempt (verb)

ɪɡˈzempt

to excuse someone or something from a law, regulation or duty

Our son is exempted from sports day because he has asthma.

No More Throw Away Cups and Straws as India Bans Disposable Plastics

India has imposed a ban on a range of single-use plastic products in a bid to reduce the country’s pollution problem. The government has initially identified 19 disposable plastic items, including plastic cups, straws and ice cream sticks, that significantly contribute to pollution and the waste littering the streets of its cities. As of the 1st of July, it will be illegal to produce, import, stock, distribute or sell these products.

The government said that the selected items were identified as there are available alternatives, such as bamboo spoons and wooden ice-cream sticks. And while there are many other plastic products like bottles and carrier bags that aren’t included in the ban, the government has set targets for manufacturers to be responsible for recycling or disposing of these products after their use. Nevertheless, some disposable plastic bags will be phased out and replaced with thicker ones.

Most plastics cannot be recycled, and a lot of it gets burned for energy. However, even when it is burned for energy, it releases greenhouse gasses that  accelerate global warming. Furthermore, a huge amount of plastic waste ends up in the sea. According to the United Nations, an estimated 100 million tons of plastic waste has already been dumped into the world’s oceans.

India make over 243,000 metric tons of disposable plastic each year, and this manufacturing process releases a lot of greenhouse gasses. The country’s poor waste management system also means a lot of plastic waste is not recycled. According to Our World in Data, India had the highest amount of plastic waste in the world in 2019, with almost 13 million metric tons of plastic discarded or not recycled. According to the country’s federal pollution watchdog, India still generated over 4.1 million metric tons of plastic waste in 2020. Now, the Indian government wants to reduce this waste in order to meet its target of a 45% reduction of emissions caused by economic activity over the next eight years.

However, despite the good intentions of India’s new legislation, plastic manufacturers lobbied the government to have the ban delayed, while representatives from PepsiCo and Coca-Cola requested that straws be exempted. But India’s federal environment minister, Bhupender Yadav, said at a press briefing in New Delhi that the ban had been in the pipeline for a year – “Now that time is up”, he said.

Satyarupa Shekhar, the Asia-Pacific coordinator of the advocacy group Break Free from Plastic, said the ban was a “definite boost”. Ravi Agarwal, director of Toxics Link, a New Delhi-based advocacy group that focuses on waste management, added that it was “a good beginning”, but its success will depend on how well it is implemented and enforced.

QUESTIONS

 

1. People will not be able to buy the banned plastic products after July 1st, but businesses will still be able to sell the stock that they already have.

TRUE / FALSE / INFORMATION NOT GIVEN

 

2. The Indian government are going to replace plastic spoons with ones made from bamboo, and ice-cream sticks with ones made from wood.

TRUE / FALSE / INFORMATION NOT GIVEN

 

3. Which one of the following statements is true?

a. Burning plastic for energy is harmless to the environment.
b. India produces the most amount of plastic waste in the world.
c. India’s goal is to reduce almost half of its emissions in eight years.

 

4. What did Coca-Cola and PepsiCo try to persuade the Indian government to do?

a. Stop the ban.
b. Delay the ban.
c. Not include plastic straws in the ban.

 

5. What is Ravi Agarwal’s perspective on the new ban?

Discussion

  • What is your opinion about the amount of disposable plastic waste in the world?
  • Are you aware of how much disposable plastic products you use?
  • Do you think you use a lot of disposable plastic products?
  • Do you reuse your carrier bags and plastic bottles? If not, why not?
  • Is disposable waste a big problem in your country or city?
  • Do you think all countries should phase out the use of disposable plastic products? If so, what products do you think should be exempt?
  • Do you make enough effort to produce less unnecessary waste?
  • Did you know what lobbying is before reading this article?
  • How do you feel about big companies and corporations lobbying governments to support legislation that is harmful to the public and the planet?
  • “Today you can murder land for private profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see and no one calls the cops.” — Paul Brooks. What do you think of this statement?