Post Mortem

Plastic ban cannot be the only step

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/22/2019 12:38:47 PM IST

 The decision to ban one-use plastics in the state by the government itself has been one of the best decisions ever made in the state. Plastic pollution is a world menace and every small effort to curb it is a great contribution. However, is it the only step in the process? If it is, then it is only the creation of a doorway of another greater menace.

As far as any ideal process to curb plastic pollution is concerned, banning it should only be the first step and several cascading effects of the ban have to be followed by. What’s the use if the ban is strict but no other alternative to it has been provided? Plastic, however harmful it may be, is as much crucial and relevant as it has ever been. We are all dependent on it on almost every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

Let’s only focus on plastic bags for now. All of us understand how crucial a role it plays in our lives. In fact, we all have that one plastic bag in our kitchen that contains all plastics bags of the house. Every one of us expect our things to be given in plastic bags. Then, you go to a market for shopping and suddenly realize that the three cauliflowers that you bought were handed over to you separately wrapped in newspapers. You’re surprised but as a responsible citizen, you put them in the shopping bag that you brought from home, which already has your new cloths mixed with ‘jelibi’, also wrapped only by newspaper. Then, moving forward, your 2kg pork meat was also given to you wrapped in newspaper and so were the live catfishes that you bought. The point is, if we decided to come this far with banning that one crucial thing, we should also be obligated to think it through till the very end.

There were some disturbing yet genuine examples doing rounds on the internet about how people buy meat and have to bring home wrapped in newspaper. Way to go for pollution control, but still, is it convenient? How convenient are newspaper bags, or generally all paper bags, in dealing with all kinds of products- big and small sizes, dry and moist or wet, chunk and fragmented, heavy and light? Are the prints on the paper bags harmful for human health?  We can’t forsake convenience and safety only because we were too lazy to think of the solution.

The internet has also been flooded with appreciation for the many parts of Northeast India for using banana leaves and other large leaves instead of plastic. Way to go for pollution control, but still, is it sustainable? How much banana leaves do we have for every person to use on a daily basis until we run out of them? We can’t forsake sustainability for not a single reason.

The best alternatives are by-products of extended and critical thinking of right minded people, the assembling of which has to be initiated by the government. A think-tank has to be constituted to come up with a solution on this. And to assist their knowledge, several projects, assignments and contests can be conducted in schools and colleges and also by NGOs. We never know which head contains the best ideas. The only best and the most guaranteed thing we can do is to find them. I’m definitely for plastic ban. But I’m also for a better life after plastic ban.

Motsuthung Yanthan, 



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