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Bhutan First Banned The Use Of Plastic Bags In 1999. This Was Reinforced In 2005, And Again In 2009. Now In 2014, We Still See Plastic Bags In Use. Wr

2072 words - 9 pages

Economic growth and changing consumption patterns are resulting into rapid increase generation of plastic waste in the world. According to the United Nations Environmental programme (UNEP) (2009), the world’s plastic consumption today has increased to 100 million tons as compared to 5 million tons in 1950s. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (2008), every year Americans use and dispose of 100 billion plastic shopping bags that generates tons of waste. Similarly, Australia use 3.92 billion plastic bags and about 3.76 billion bags (20,700 tons) are disposed of in landfill every year (Clean up, n.d.). The South Asian countries like India consumes about 8 million tons of plastic products and about 5.6 million tons (70%) of plastic bag waste are generated every year (Central pollution Control Board, 2013). In Bhutan, about 13% of municipal waste content is plastic waste generated in urban areas (Phuntsho, Heart, Shon, Vigneswaran, Dulal, Yangden, & Tenzin, 2007). Therefore, in order to reduce plastic waste, the use of plastic bags are regulated and banned countries such as the United States of America, Australia in 2009, Bangladesh in 2002, China in 2008, Delhi in India in 2009, Tanzania in 2012, and the Philippines in July 2013 (Surfrider Foundation, 2014).
Similarly Bhutan experienced increasing plastic waste generation; therefore Bhutan banned plastics in 1999 and reinforced the ban in 2005 and 2009 with an aim to reduce the plastic waste. Though the use of plastic bag is implemented, it did not seem to achieve the goal because plastics are still in use even in 2014 in Bhutan. The strategy of banning plastic bags to reduce plastic waste did not work in Bhutan and several countries around the world. Even after reinforcement of plastic ban, plastic waste remained a growing concern in urban areas like Thimphu (Bhutan Broadcasting Service, 2013). According to the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE) (2010), Delhi High Court in India directed to completely ban the use of plastic bags on 7th January 2009 but the ban was unsuccessful because about 94% of consumers continued to use plastic bags. This continuity was bag because of weak enforcement of laws and weaker enforcement of penalties (Gupta, 2011). Bangladesh that has implemented the use of plastic ban in 2002 however failed to reduce plastic bags flooded in the market due to the lack of enforcement of laws and regulations (Surfrider Foundation, 2014). Hence, the ban of using plastic bag is not an effective way towards waste management. Therefore, strategies such as recycling plastic bags, levying on the use of plastic shopping bag, cash-back scheme, use of cloth bags, voluntary approach and charging explicit tax are some of the alternatives besides banning the use of plastic bags.
Recycling is an efficient way of reducing plastic waste. In 2012, the European Union recycled 5.4 million tonnes (34.7%) which ranked Netherlands at the top with...

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