Just Transition of Street Vendors from Single Use Plastic

Plastic is a thriving global concern causing detrimental effects to the human & animal health and environment. Besides, as plastic is derived from petrochemicals, it pollutes way before it is manufactured and continues to do so even after it is not in use. 

Single Use Plastic (SUP) is further a major problem due to its mass production with shortest life span. Single Use Plastic very quickly reaches the land fills and soon becomes a serious nuisance due to its non-biodegradable property.  

In view of controlling plastic pollution many countries have imposed ban on the use of Single Use Plastic. India imposed a National Ban on the use of Single Use Plastic from 1st July, 2022. However execution of the ban turned out to be a huge challenge as the ban focused on penalising a certain section of the community (mostly marginalised groups) while excluding the big players and prime polluters such as FMCGs. 

One of the sections of the community that is deeply impacted by the ban is the Street Vendor / Hawker community. 

Street vendors and market traders are an integral part of urban economies around the world, offering easy access to a wide range of affordable goods and services in public spaces.

Street vendors and consumers using Single Use Plastic

The efforts to address plastic pollution pose critical challenges for street vendors, who like many other informal sector groups, face systemic oppression and marginalisation. Over the past decade, 22 Indian states have imposed partial or complete bans on Single Use Plastic. While the implementation of these bans has been sporadic and inconsistent, they have been used to reinforce and exacerbate the marginalisation of street vendors by imposing penalties, confiscation or destruction of their goods or kiosks, and evictions. Street vendors are caught between customers demanding “convenient, hygienic packaging”, and municipal authorities imposing penalties 2-4 times their daily earnings.

In the context of such social, environmental and political disparity, Parisar aims to empower street vendors to navigate the growing pressure to eliminate their use of SUP with a clear narrative on the interconnectedness of environmental and social justice. By building the capability of street vendors to understand and articulate the links between plastics, petrochemicals, health and climate change, this project will lay the foundations to work towards a JUST TRANSITION from Single Use Plastics to reuse or alternative solutions.