Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:39PM
The file photo shows an Indian worker collecting plastic from a waste site. (Photo by Reuters)
The file photo shows an Indian worker collecting plastic from a waste site. (Photo by Reuters)

India's National Green Tribunal (NGT) has introduced a ban on all forms of disposable plastic in the capital Delhi in order to combat growing pollution.

The ban, which came into effect at the beginning of January, prohibits the use of cutlery, bags, cups and other forms of single-use plastic across the whole National Capital Territory (NCT) area of Delhi, the Independent newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The NGT introduced the ban after complaints about the illegal mass burning of plastic and other waste at three local rubbish dumps.

The sites, which are supposed to operate as waste-to-energy plants, have been blamed for causing air pollution.

"Each of these sites is a depiction of the mess that can be created for environment and health of people of Delhi. We direct that use of disposable plastic is prohibited in entire NCT of Delhi," the tribunal said.

"The Delhi government shall take steps for storage and use of plastic materials," the tribunal said, adding, "All the corporations… and other public authorities, including NCT of Delhi, are directed to take immediate steps for reduction and utilization of dumped waste."

There is particular concern about the amount of plastic waste India produces.

The file photo shows an Indian female worker selling disposable plastic. (Photo by Reuters)

According to local media reports, India is responsible for an astonishing 60 percent of the plastic. The waste is dumped in the world's oceans every year.

After British Prime Minister Theresa May visited India in November 2016, she was exposed to air that was 36 times more toxic than in London. Analysts commissioned by Greenpeace calculated the air pollution was so high it probably had slightly shortened her lifespan.