India will abolish Single-Use Plastics

Amsterdam/New York, June 22, 2018 – On World Environment Day, prime minister Modi of India promised to ban all single-use plastic by 2022. The promise is the most ambitious measure to fight the plastic soup taken by a single country thus far. India has 1.3 billion citizens, and is a growing economy. That means a daily torrent of plastic, of which most is packaging plastic that’s only used once. A lot of it ends up in the oceans. The situation has literally become untenable.

Prime minister Modi called for the entire world to work together in the fight against plastic pollution. Will other countries, such as Indonesia, follow suit now? And how will multinational corporations like Unilever and Campina respond?

In November 2016, during a trade mission in Indonesia, state secretary of Environment Dijksma stated that the Netherlands would help Indonesia find a solution for polluting disposables. Small quantities of various products – from noodles to shampoo and coffee – are sold in tiny packaging. She declared: “Dutch companies are known for being good at coming up with creative yet affordable solutions to combat litter caused by packaging.” Read the press release issued by the ministry and VNO-CNW at the time.

The press release announced that Kadin (Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia), Indonesian trade, the Dutch government, VNO-NCW and Friesland Campina were going to collaborate to combat litter in the streets and waters of Indonesia. The collaboration was to mostly focus on improving the collection of single-use plastics.

We haven’t heard a word about the initiative since, while companies like Campina and Unilever keep selling their products in SUP-packaging. Have they wasted the opportunity to act? It’s clear that India’s taking drastic measures to fight the avalanche of plastic litter and is the first to no longer believe in vague promises made by corporations.