16-year-old boy wants Amazon, Flipkart to cut plastic use

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Aditya Dubey’s plea prompts National Green Tribunal to seek report from the Central Pollution Control Board

A 16-year-old boy has approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to stop e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart from excessive plastic use in packaging, prompting the panel to direct the Central Pollution Control Board on Tuesday to submit a report on the matter within a month.

Aditya Dubey, through his legal guardian, has pleaded the NGT to direct Amazon and Flipkart to stop excessive use of plastics in packaging goods delivered by the firms.

“The e-commerce companies are covered under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. But due to a lack of monitoring and implementation, the respondents continue to use excessive amounts of plastic in wrapping and packaging their sold items,” said the plea filed through advocates Meenesh Dubey and Divya Prakash Pande.

Dubey’s plea contended that the companies deliver items in cardboard boxes, which are too large when compared to the size of the items being delivered.

“To ensure that the sold items do not move around in the out-sized boxes, they wrap the items in multiple layers of plastic sheets and plastic bubble wraps and thereafter fill the large empty spaces in the boxes with additional sheets of single-use plastic,” it said.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel posted the matter for hearing on January 3, 2020.
Excessive plastics in packaging

The plea also said that though the home-delivery service of e-commerce companies have been very useful for consumers, they have given rise to serious environmental challenges due to excessive use of plastics in packaging.

Once goods are delivered, the plastic waste is thrown away in garbage and it ends up at landfill sites, leading to a burden on the earth and damaging the environment, it said.

“Single-use plastic has emerged as one of the biggest environmental challenges for our planet. It is cheap, useful, ubiquitous and very deadly. The fact that it’s non-biodegradable and is recycled in very small percentages means that our plant is with passage of time is becoming a big dumping ground for single-use plastic. Single-use plastic breaks down into smaller fragments known as microplastics and then contaminates soil and water,” the petition said.

Dubey said the two companies have not made any arrangements for either taking back the plastic material or ensuring that it is recycled.

“Plastic packaging constitutes 43% of the total plastic waste generated in India and it is imperative that a direction be issued to the respondents that they should stop using plastic packaging materials and shift to environment friendly packaging option, the plea said.

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