When announcing the ban, the government rejected demands from food, beverage and consumer goods companies to delay the restriction to avoid unrest.
But India, which uses about 14 million tons of plastic annually, lacks an organized system for managing plastic waste, which leads to widespread littering.
City streets are littered with second-hand plastic that chokes banks, rivers, and oceans, and kills animals, too.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said in a statement that India’s ban on single-use plastics includes straws, cutlery, ear muffs, packaging film, plastic sticks for balloons, candy, ice cream and cigarette packages, among other products.
India’s PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Parle Agro, Dabur and Amul have lobbied for straws to be exempted from the ban.
To the relief of consumers, the government has currently exempted plastic bags but has asked manufacturers and importers to raise the thickness to encourage reuse.
Other than food, beverage and consumer goods companies, plastic manufacturers also complained about the ban, saying it didn’t give them enough time to prepare for the restriction.
Some experts believe that enforcement of the ban can be difficult. The government decided to set up control rooms to check any illegal use, sale and distribution of single-use plastic products.
According to the United Nations, plastic waste is causing epidemic proportions in the world’s oceans, with 100 million tons dumped there. Scientists have discovered large amounts of microplastics in the intestines of deep ocean mammals such as whales.