NEW DELHI, March 12 -- In its leader on plastic pollution, The Economist last week suggested that using less of the polymer was at best a partial solution. A better answer was to collect more and recycle.

The publication noted that the rich western world prohibiting and penalising use of plastic disposables - even the British Queen has banned plastic straws from her castles - may be better for the conscience than the environment because rubbish collection anyway worked smoothly in those countries.

The problem really is in the developing world. All but two of the 10 biggest plastic polluters of the world are in Asia. Of these, only China can afford western-style waste-management in the near future.

India, despite its 1.3 billion populatio...