Sunday, August 14, 2022

The war against plastic

International Plastic Bag Free Day is celebrated every year on July 3. The day aims to encourage nations to start banning single-use plastics (SUPs).
India has banned all single-use plastic items from July 1 which includes plastic sticks, flags, polystyrene, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films, plastic bags, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, etc.
I am supportive of this move to ban plastic as the way I see it, plastic wastes are the plastic end products of what we consumed and used, due to be discarded. Had the ideas about repurposing and recycling plastic wastes come side by side with their production, we will not have so much plastic pollution now.
If those plastic bottles and other plastic items which have reached the oceans were shredded and used in all the construction sites when real estate development boomed, we will not have this much of a problem.
Right now, we can no longer undo what had been done. But we can correct our attitude towards the plastic items that are still in use at present by proper waste management, say what goes where? Knowing plastic by its kind, category, or chemical make-up will tell us what to do next.
Now that climate change and its environmental impact is high on many governments’ agendas, it has highlighted the importance of tackling the increasing plastic waste pollution problem we have.
Over the years, the use of plastic has been adopted in practically every industry due to its lower cost and durability, however the effect on the environment and our planet is a devastating one, as many forms of plastic take hundreds of years to break-down and then only into micro-plastics which are often mistake by land and sea creatures as food causing devastation.
Will banning plastics for good, wholly work, starting from the government offices to the grassroots? There is so much to do and consider while taking this step.
The centre says defaulters would be penalised, but is there enough awareness, especially for people who have no access to what is going on in the world?
Some Indian states, such as Maharashtra and Karnataka have tried to ban single-use plastic in the past, but those efforts have largely been failures. If this national ban going into effect works, India will hopefully replace single-use plastic bags with thicker ones that are more durable, which in turn should help reduce overall plastic use.
I believe that developing economies are more likely to benefit more from the strategy of recycling and waste management over fines or bans. Plus, it comes with employment opportunities within the recycling chain.
Many consumer goods companies in India will suffer as a result of the ban and small companies will be hit disproportionately harder. With this in mind, the centre should offer subsidies for new machines, and other incentives for the transition to alternatives. There are limited resources of the country’s pollution board, lack of public awareness and a proper plan to transition into recyclables. While we speak of recyclables, the centre must do what it can, to assist companies in the recycling business and join hands with them, if eradicating plastics completely is the goal.
Amen Jamir, Dimapur

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