Every year, we produce nearly 280 million tonnes of plastic of which much of those spoil the environment, harming marine life and other ecosystems. As the world’s population migrates to cities, the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly evident, and the need to create sustainable communities becomes paramount. Destruction of forests is to be taken as the destruction of the state, and reforestation an act of rebuilding the state and advancing its welfare. Since children spend time on the internet and mobile phones, they are more aware, but we need to make them active participants. A tree would be ideal, but even a small shrub can help the environment. It is estimated that plants can hold a large mass of water in their roots. At the same time, a ban should be a gradual and long-term objective. The loss of tree cover to make furniture would have a more severe impact on the environment than the use of plastics. More research needs to be done on using plastic waste for productive purposes. Plastic is widely used in our day to day life. Starting from a pen to a polythene bag in which we carry fruits and books are forms of plastic. Plastic bags are nothing but a product of laziness and poor planning. They find their origin in a variety of places. Non-grocery retail stores and restaurants are significant contributors, but there is no greater impact than the plastic bag waste that is generated by grocery stores.
The widespread use of plastic carry bags undoubtedly poses a serious problem. With global warming on the rise, we have to do every bit that we can to save the environment. The major chemicals that go into the making of plastic are highly toxic and pose a serious threat to living beings of all species on the earth. While there should be a strict ban on plastics, considering its ill-effects on the human beings and the environment, people should desist from accepting material in polythene bags. It is the moral duty of people to refrain from using plastic bags. While educating people on the need to shun plastic, we also need to make available cheaper, safer, durable alternatives for them. Cloth and jute bags need to be attractively priced and easily available. Authorities alone cannot be blamed for the plastic pollution.
Our most of the lakes and urban drain systems are choking because of plastic bags. Due to government neglect across the country and her maritime boundaries or coastline, animals particularly cows and bulls, are ingesting plastic from garbage dumps and plastic bags littered across the landscape and oceans. Thin plastic tends to cause flooding by choking drains, and can easily travel by wind and water in flood planes, thus increasing the flooding of public places during rains.
One more reason for the ban is that cows, which are sacred in India, often asphyxiate from trying to eat the bags. The ingestion of plastic from plastic bags chokes the stomach of cows. Not only cows but some day polyethene will kill us. Despite the enactment of rules for the disposal of municipal solid wastes and the management and handling of plastic waste, the governments have failed and neglected to implement these rules.
There are many, who are against the ban on plastic bags, and there is a reason because they believe it is infringing on their rights, creating an inconvenience, and adding expense to their shopping. If every individual resolves not to use plastic bags, our cities would be much better places to live in. Unless we honestly implement all ways to eliminate plastic, its ill-effects will continue to be with us. The little that we can do without much effort from our side is to say “NO” to plastic bags.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)