The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) today gave a call for shunning single-use plastics which triggers natural disasters such as flood and pollutes the environment.
Single-use plastics are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These items include plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles and food packaging materials.
“We can’t go without plastics but we must stop dumping single-use plastic. We must refuse when vendors give us items in plastic packets which can’t be used twice. That should be our resolve on the eve of World Environment Day on June 5,” WBPCB Chairman Kalyan Rudra told reporters here.
He said the WBPCB will organise a number of functions on World Environment Day tomorrow projecting this objective.
“To stop single-use plastics, we need active participation of every citizen as this task cannot be solely accomplished by the government and the WBPCB,” Rudra said.
He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ organised by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the National Small Industries Corporation Limited.
Rudra said India has been chosen by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as a host for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations tomorrow, for taking constructive action against plastic pollution.
“Kolkata should play its role in making this campaign 100 per cent success,” he said.
Asked if imposing fine on single-use plastic users can improve the situation, Rudra said, “The WBPCB can’t impose fines on its own. But the government can formulate act and empower urban local authorities to this effect.”
The WBPCB being the regulatory authority can only give consent and authorisation, he said adding “We have not been vested with much power.”
To a question about states like Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh having successfully enforced plastic ban, Rudra said “The same rule cannot be enforced in the same way everywhere. We are, however, hopeful.”
He said burning of wastes, a large part of which was single-use plastics, at dumping grounds was increasing the presence of methane gas having carcinogenic effect but this cannot be controlled without the involvement of citizens.
Of its 8 lakh years of history, the world has been facing the gravest crisis in the past 50-60 years, he said.
“Each year, an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the world’s oceans, and 50 per cent of that is single-use plastic. We are heading to a disaster,” he said.