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Letters to the Editor: June 24, 2018

1) Use more reusable bags

Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They fly off trash piles, garbage trucks and landfills, and then clog storm water infrastructure, float down waterways, and spoil the landscape. Plastic bags also pose a serious danger to birds and marine mammals who often mistake them for food. Floating plastic bags regularly fool sea turtles into thinking that they are one of their favourite prey —jellyfish. Thousands of animals die each year after swallowing or choking on discarded plastic bags. This mistaken identity issue is apparently a problem even for camels in the Middle East.

Plastic bags exposed to sunlight for long enough to undergo physical breakdown. Ultra-violet rays turn the plastic brittle, breaking it into ever smaller pieces. The small fragments then mix with soil, lake sediments, are picked up by streams, or end up contributing to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other oceanic trash deposits.

Finally, producing plastic bags, transporting them to stores, and bringing the used ones to landfills and recycling facilities require millions of gallons of petroleum, a non-renewable resource which can arguably be better used for more beneficial activities like transportation or heating.

Some business organisations have even stopped offering their customers plastic bags. San Francisco was the first to do that in 2007.

Reusable shopping bags made from renewable materials conserve resources by replacing paper and plastic bags. Reusable bags are convenient and come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials. When not in use, some reusable bags can be rolled or folded small enough to fit easily into a pocket. Make sure you wash them regularly.

– Jubel D’Cruz


2) Veggies grow dearer

No rains in Maharashtra interiors and that caused ripples in the mind of farmers. Vegetable production has come down drastically. From now on supply of vegetables from the suburbs will reduce considerably. The short supply is due to crops getting damaged by unseasonal hail storm. The prices of all the vegetables are slowly touching Rs 60 to Rs 80 per kilo mark. Fruit prices are also going up due to short supply. Fruit prices are likely to go up still further. Hailstorm hit the pockets of farmers of Marathwada, who are already in distress due to Bank loans and the wait for relief from the government. Lack of monsoon rain during this time of the year is really ruining the crops in Maharashtra and some remedial measures will have to be followed from the next year onwards.

– Akhilesh Krishnan


3) Mobile Chargers

There are too many companies marketing and manufacturing mobile-phones now days. But all the companies have different specifications, shapes and sizes of sockets and plugs of mobile-chargers. There should standard shapes, sizes and specifications for mobile-chargers universally like exists a system for electric sockets and plugs so that any mobile-charger may fit to any mobile-phone. Indian government can take initiative for having some global specification for mobile-chargers.

All manufacturers of mobile-phones should be coordinated to have a common and uniform system of mobile-chargers in a manner that users may be able to use the same charger for any handset of any make and model. It will be convenient for car-manufacturers to fix mobile-charger as original equipment in cars. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) should take steps in larger consumer-interest. India being amongst countries with largest consumer-base definitely can have a forceful voice at the concerned international agency.

– Madhu Agrawal


4) Coins and candies

While coins are now as much plenty in circulation that many vendors give coins easily, yet most retailers have made it a practice to give candies and chocolates in place of coins even though they have sufficient coins in their cash-boxes. It is a noble way to earn extra profit through such forced sale of unwanted items devised in the days when coins were in scarcity.

Central government should be made a planned strategy whereby coin-bags of rupees one and five may be always available in all bank-branches having  the facility to hold coin-bags. Since coins of Rs 10 denominations have not attained popularity, further minting in this denomination may be stopped for time-being. Instead, smaller-sized plastic notes as promised quite a few years ago in Lok Sabha may be issued in Rs 10 denominations. Stress may be given on minting coins only in denominations of Re 1 and Rs 5, stopping minting of Rs 2 coins also because presently with Rs 2 coins in plenty as compared to Re 1 coins, consumers have to leave one-rupee balance with shopkeepers or to accept candy because of poor availability Re 1 coin. Re 1 coin can fulfil purpose of Rs 2 coins as well because of less weight and multiplicity of payment options. However, huge wastage of funds on printing of Re 1 notes suddenly re-issued after a gap of two decades just for the bureaucratic craze of getting their signature on notes should be avoided by immediate stopping their printing.

Forcing unwanted items in place of coins can then be made an offence under law.

– Subhash Chandra Agrawal

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