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Single Use Plastics surge in Bengaluru

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Covid has driven demand for disposable products

For well over a year now, Single Use Plastic (SUP) has made a resurgence of sorts in Bengaluru and other urban centres in India on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, making it harder to reverse the dependence on the extremely polluting products, officials said.

Though the total generation of waste in Bengaluru, one of India’s largest cities, has come down by as much as 30-40%, the proportion of SUP has seen an increase in the last one year as individual safety, hygiene, health and paranoia over fear of contracting Covid-19 has forced people to depend on products like plastic cups, cutlery, carry bags, packaged drinking water and other items that are extremely hazardous to the environment.

The reduction of total waste is on account of closure of marriage halls, small hotels and other businesses that produce a large amount of bulk waste.

“Since most of the factories like those making irrigation pipes, cement and asphalting works are not operational, SUP is now ending up back in landfills,” said one official of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

The official cited above said that though the quantity of waste generated has come down to around 3000 MT per day from around 5000 MT, the proportion of SUP remains the same, if not more.

He said that solid or dry waste accounts for 80% of the total waste generated in India’s IT capital, of which over 5% or around 120-150 MT is SUP.

In broader terms, anything below 50 microns is considered single use, according to the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association (AIPMA), which said that the definition is dependent on the end consumer.

This highlights the need for better segregation as well as building capacity for recycling.

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