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India faces uphill battle to reduce mountain of plastic waste

Restrictions aim to tackle problem, but critics say change will be costly

The Indian government is pushing to cut down on the plastic waste the country produces.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Dhiraj Kumar, a vegetable merchant in New Delhi, hands a plastic bag filled with produce over to a customer. It is a daily ritual he has been performing for three decades. The government, however, is pushing to do away with single-use plastics, as the country tries to clean up its reputation as a major plastic polluter.

As of this month, 19 types of single-use plastics are banned in India. Plastic bags are not entirely prohibited yet, but by the end of the year they will have to be of greater thickness to promote reuse -- a change critics say will increase expenses.

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