On Friday India’s nationwide ban on single-use plastic comes into effect, but a glance at the street vendors who line one road in the Indian capital selling coconut water, flowers, samosas, mangoes and ice-cream – each in their own plastic bag – reveals that few are ready.
Faimudin Ahmed, who sells mangoes piled high on a cart, says plastic bags cost him 40 rupees for 250 grams. The cost of paper bags is double that.
“Even if I could afford the extra cost of paper bags, they won’t take the weight of two kilos of mangoes. They will break. The only way the ban will work is if customers bring their own cloth bags,” said Ahmed.