There is no such thing as away. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere. This is the real story of plastic. Every product has self life, but sadly not that of the case with plastic. It takes minimum 500-600 years to degrade itself in the environment through normal processes. Thus, whatever bit of plastic had manufactured would have found its places in some other forms on this very planet.
Seed has sown:
Plastic is the material consisting of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds that are malleable. It was born during the first Industrial Revolution. Parkesine is considered the first ever man-made plastic on earth. Since then it has not seen any restrictions imposed on by the technologically genius human beings until they themselves realised their own dooms due to this plastic.
Seed has now grown into a huge banyan tree:
The amount of plastic produced in the world from 2000-10 exceeds the amount produced during the entire last century. An estimate says 8,300 mmt of plastic had been generated during mid 2017. India is though not the top global consumer of plastic, every day it generates 33.1 million pounds of plastic out of which only 19.8 million pounds are recycled. Where goes the rest of the amount? Answer is on this very planet.
Plastic: A double edged sword
Promise and peril is the two sides of plastic. The revolution brought by the plastic in India was really like a brown study even for its inventor himself. It has revolutionised our societies in such a manner that it now seems impossible to run our lives without this plastic. Our beautiful homes are inflated with the colourful and designed plastic plates, bowls, fans, chairs, TV etc. Our critical organisations ie defence and space is now being run on the bases of this plastic. Its manufacturing has created many employments, comfort for people; and brought GDP to the exchequers. This plastic has actually its origin in the ever maturing minds of the human beings; hence, both are like brothers in arms. But, alas! All the glitter is not gold.
In cities, choked nallahs and spewing foul water from it due to accumulated plastics are causing swachhata problems and diseases in the people residing nearby. Revered cows alas again are running their subsistence by grazing plastics in towns. Our most valuable top soil is now getting its peaceful demise under the blanket of colourful plastics spreading all around. We cause destructions to this soil as if we have another planet to move. Its impact has shaped our attitudes and behaviours as well. Plastic is going to be harmful in near future still we use and blame on the governments always. Mostly we are not going to compromise our luxurious lives and comforts nurtured by these plastics, thus arises a dilemma.
Dilemma: an ethical problem
Some intellectuals argue that plastic is not harmful if it is managed, collected and recycled properly to other uses. On the other hand, some are in favour of total ban on the plastics fearing its irreversible impact on them. Moreover, there are some other groups as well who sided with neutrals advocating its impossibility to ban seeing its immersion into our very blood.
However, we can recycle our all wastes but cant recycle our wasted time. Though, some countries of the world have reached to their impasses, India yet to reach. Time has not lost but nearing to that position. We cant leave our next generations to go on honeymoon trips on such beaches where there is nothing but plastics what should we talk about the seas where places of fishes have been taken by plastics.
Government actions speak now:
Recently, Bihar and Maharashtra have shown their feats banning plastic at once; however, almost eighteen states have already ban the uses of plastic partially. On the day of 5th Jun 2018, Indian Government has made its historical announcement that India will by 2022, eliminate all single use plastics. Laws have been amended; penalty imposed on its violators. However, yet to do many things to realise our goal due to financial crunch, lobbying, lack of technology and apathetic developed countries to hand over their technologies.
Instead of many obstacles, Indias commitment to ban plastic is worth appreciation. Most fractions of the goal can be achieved by sensitizing citizens towards its menaces involving NGOs and Judicial pronouncements and with greater political will.
Losing the battle but winning the war: its conclusion
Our constitution provides to its citizens Right to clean environment. Moreover, the world is changed by setting an example not by mere opinion. India proves herself by setting that example.
Thus, rethink the future: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; and if not possible restrict its use at least.
- Manish Kumar