Say no to plastic

Plastic is a scourge that is polluting cities in alarming proportions

As you open the gate of your home to go out, you will probably step over used plastic bags, empty biscuit wrappers or even empty pan masala pouches, strewn everywhere from the the street. All over the street, in the drains and on the pavements there are discarded plastic packets and bottles, used packaging and numerous packets with wasted food from the surrounding eateries. Plastic is a scourge that seems to have grown to alarming proportions.

The reason why plastic is an environmental hazard is because it is one of the few modern chemical materials that is not biodegradable. Polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, and polystyrene are the composition base in the manufacture of plastics. These synthetic polymers are easily moulded into complex shapes and have high chemical resistance. Because of these properties they are used to manufacture several durable or disposable goods and for packaging materials.

However, plastic is resistant to biodegradation. A discarded plastic bottle can remain in a land fill for millions of years, so just consider the thousands of plastic bottles we discard on a daily basis. Bangalore alone generates roughly 40 tons of plastic waste per day, so is the city headed for environmental disaster?

Greedy consumption

Shalini of KKPKP (Kagad Kach Patra Kashtaka Panchayat), Pune, says: “The average human in India uses three kg of plastic per person per year. That’s far lower than the European who consumes 60 kg per year, and the American who consumes 80 kg. Because we are so populous, the amount of plastic consumed is mindboggling and our disposal habits make it a health hazard. As long as our homes are clean, we are fine; throw all the plastic waste on the road for the corporation sweeper to clean. If they do not, we just sit back and grumble that the municipality is doing nothing.”

That’s one reason why drains get clogged in Bangalore during the rains. Look into the open storm water drains which are invariably filled with all sorts of junked plastic. Milk sachets, mineral water bottles, grocery bags, empty plastic cans and containers.A recent trip to Goa and Ooty were definite eye openers. Earlier, both holiday destinations had waste plastic clogging everything from lakes, where tourists took boat rides, to beaches, where even a sea bath meant bringing up discarded fishermen’s nets around your ankles.

Today, both cities have a very strict ban on plastic and the results are clearly obvious. What makes it a workable solution is the local population too have enforced the ban, taking personal pride in keeping their cities and market areas free from plastic. Buy fish from the local fisherwoman in the market in Goa and if you have not carried your own cloth bag she will wrap your fish or prawns in newspaper and thrust it in your hands! Ooty has stylish-looking newspaper bags in which your tea, chocolates and spices will be handed over.

We have also aped the disposable culture of the West and over the last decade use everything from disposable razors and pens to large quantities of fancy packaging. Apples or pears are pushed into honeycomb plastic packing to keep them from getting damaged in transit.

What happened to filling our pens with ink or the biscuits that we bought from the baker sans plastic trapping? Maybe we need to take a step back in time and go back a decade to when we did not need the fancy packing.

We all need to take responsibility for this pollution which threatens to overwhelm the city. Carry a shopping bag like we did in the old days or put a basket into the dickey of your car into which you can fill a whole shopping cart. Stop buying bottled water; instead, buy a food grade plastic water bottle and carry your own water. Leave packaging behind in the shop, especially of large white goods, so it can be recycled rather than carry it home. If each of us cut back on our consumption of plastic responsibly, there will be much less floating around the garbage dumps in the city.

MARIANNE DE NAZARETH From THE HINDU

Advertisements

2 Responses to Say no to plastic

  1. Max says:

    I agree, plastics are a problem and the question is…what to do…what to do? I went into a large market place the other day and almost everything I could see had some form of plastic involved. It was in the packaging, the container or the shelving it sat on. I’ve read that our time will be known as the “Plastic Ages,” and I’d have to agree, we do live in the plastic ages. However, just because there is a lot of plastic shouldn’t mean that we don’t do something about plastic pollution. Our company, ENSO Bottles, realized that there was a growing problem with plastic bottles. Not just water bottles but soft drink bottles, dish soap, hand cleaners, etc. Our approach to reduce the impact of these containers was to develop a biodegradable plastic bottle. Yes, plastic is biodegradable but the problem with standard plastic is that it takes hundreds or thousands of years to biodegrade. The ENSO bottle has an additive that will attract microbes in a landfill environment which can consume our bottle within 1-5 years. We know the ENSO bottle isn’t the final answer and we are working on developing better biodegradable plastics. Now all we need is for all of us to make sure that the plastic bottle we use is biodegradable. If it isn’t ask the store manager “Why not?”

    Max
    http://www.ensobottles.com
    “Bottles for a Healthier Earth”

    • Bharath Sonigara says:

      For years now people have been polluting our green planet with plastic waste. The pollution is accumulating at such an alarming rate that there is not enough time nor people on the planet to clean it all up. Everyday the problem is only getting worse, and we are slowly starting to kill our planet. It’s ironic that as large of a threat as this problem poses, very little is being done about it.

      At Carbon we have a vision for future, we are striving to fullfill that vision by producing a multi purpose, recyclable Metal Water Bottles & Metal Flasks. We have a huge product range. Check how you can contribute to save Green on our Mother Earth by using Carbon products.
      Lets be together & say no to Plastic Water Bottles and Save Earth, Save Life, Save Natural Resources

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: