Delhi, India Has Banned All Plastic. Yes, ALL Plastic.


Every year, roughly 8.8 million metric tons of plastic — the entire amount of plastic we humans produced in 1961 — is swept into the ocean with the devastating future of strangling sea life and polluting plankton.  Nearly 60% of that plastic littering the seawater comes from a single country: India.

Trailing after China and the United States, India is the largest polluter in the world and is home to 13 out of the top 20 most polluted cities. Thus, the city of Delhi has decided to take a strong and bold action by banning all disposable plastic including a ban on disposable plastic cutlery, cups, and bags, this piece of legislation was passed by India’s National Green Tribunal in December. The ban came into effect at the beginning of the new year.

Due to its chemical properties, plastic never fully breaks down.  Ultimately, all plastic separates into minuscule pieces in the ocean that have devastating impacts on plants and animals dwelling in the waters and on the shores.  Called micro plastics, these plastic particles are wreaking havoc on the ecosystem, decimating shellfish like mussels, exterminating coral and underwater plants, and filling the bellies of plankton-seeking whales.  Additionally, plastic bags come with their own plethora of issues.  The World Wildlife Foundation reported that “100,000 animals die of plastic bag asphyxiation annually.”

So, what’s the next step? Rejoice! One more city has decided to take a monumental step to reduce plastic pollution.  Now, get loud, speak up, write to local legislators, clean the beaches, love the Earth, and maybe your city could be next to ban plastics.  


About Author

Olivia is a member of the Roots & Shoots U.S. National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC). As a member of the NYLC, Olivia acts as a youth voice and works to make a positive change in her community — for people, animals and the environment. She is a junior at Sacred Heart High School in Massachusetts and has been the vice president of the Roots & Shoots Club since 2013. Olivia is a public speaker, scientist, artist, writer, and Youtuber. Learn more about Olivia here:

  • Debbie

    Okay, so when you say ALL plastic, you mean all plastic shopping bags and such, because there is no way they can ban ALL plastic, considering the fact that everything from our cars to our computers are made from, in whole or in part, some form of plastic. And unfortunately I don’t see manufacturers changing the materials they use to accommodate India. Although there was a time in the not so long ago last, when we didn’t have plastic. Wouldn’t that be nice to go back to.

    • Avinash Chandra Agrawal

      In some places they have banned all plastic. The way it is being done is by banning at the source. No shop will give you a plastic bad (paper bags are being used). Even disposable plastic containers are being replaced. In Bengaluru, a sweets shop Bancharam, stopped selling a particular sweet that was being sold in plastic cup. Now thry have come up with an alternative eco-friendly packing.

  • Crystal

    The headline is misleading as it is NOT banning ALL PLASTIC but Delhi is ‘banning all disposable plastic including a ban on disposable plastic cutlery, cups, and bags’ which has started at the new year. It is a step in the right direction and I would be interested to know how they are going to keep tabs on this in a city so vast.

  • Thindi

    Hemp would be a sustainable alternative for many plastics and other materials

  • Conrad Rogers

    Completely beside the point, but that font is very hard to read.

  • Avinash Chandra Agrawal

    Delhi is one of the most polluted city in India (and in the world). Laws are passed but life continues as it was. In this case too, people will continue using plastic and keep throwing it in open. People in Delhi take pride in breaking laws. In most of the cities. garbage disposal requires segregation of garbage but only a few do it. Swachh Bharat is a mere slogan and a way to collect some more taxes.

  • Iván Török

    Everything is plastic. The bottles, the cluttery, the food, the medicine, the toys, cups, the straw, just to name a few.. It is impossible to ban all plastic. Unfortunately.