NEW DELHI, India: To combat worsening pollution, India, the world's second most populous country, has banned single-use plastic items, ranging from drinking straws to cigarette packets.
The Indian government dismissed the demands of food, beverage and consumer goods companies to postpone the restriction to avoid manufacturing disruptions.
PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Co, India's Parle Agro, Dabur and Amul had lobbied for straws to be exempted from the ban.
Plastic waste has become a significant source of pollution in India, whose accelerating economic growth has fueled demand for goods that come with single-use plastic products.
The country, which consumes some 14 million tons of plastic annually, lacks an organized system for managing plastic waste, leading to widespread littering.
In a statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government said India's ban on single-use plastic items will cover straws, cutlery, ear buds, packaging films, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice-cream and cigarette packets.
However, the government has exempted plastic bags from the ban, but asked manufacturers and importers to promote reuse by increasing their thickness.
Plastic manufacturers have also complained about the ban, which they claimed did not give them adequate time to prepare.
As some experts believe that enforcing the ban might be difficult, the government promised to set up control rooms to check any illegal use, sales and distribution of single-use plastic products.