Plastic-Free Travel: India

A short piece on plastic in India, Imogen Duthie

India is one of the most popular travel destinations. Rich in history, beautiful landscapes and some of the most diverse cultures in the world.

However, there exists a dark side: The West's solution to their own waste crisis - shipping their waste to poorer countries. This, coupled with poverty, overpopulation and a dependency on cheap amenities, has come at a cost. The currency? Plastic.

                                                                                                                                                         Photographs: Imogen Duthie

                                                                                                                                                         Photographs: Imogen Duthie

Join one of our travel writers, Imogen Duthie, as she describes her experience of this plastic paradise.


"A plethora of bottles, bags and other disused plastic litter the streets. To the unaccustomed, the plastic problem here is blatant, to me it is offensively pronounced. However to the local population it’s nothing out of the ordinary, it’s the environmental norm.

People use and dispose of plastic where they stand. I’ve seen it. The contents of a plastic wrapper consumed and discarded so casually it appears natural. There is no second thought paid to the consequences of these actions. The education of the profound ramifications of plastic is unknown here.

Plastic is a permanent feature of this landscape, it’s rife both rural and urban settings. Stray animals on the street sleep in piles of plastic litter, many of them chews through and eat it. It’s appalling to see. Plastic rubbish is swept from one side of the street to the other. It’s dumped in waterways, shrubs, grassland, desert - in every terrain. I have never given plastic use as much thought as I have here.

Yes I try my best to recycle, refuse plastic straws and take a bag with me grocery shopping. But being in India made me realise how much larger the problem is, of course I knew it was a significant issue. However it was only when I was personally faced with it on such a vast scale, did it become a reality."


Travel, PlanetSuzie Hallindia