ELIMINATION OF SINGLE USE PLASTICS, POSSIBILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEW INDIA
A CALL TO FREE INDIA FROM SINGLE USE PLASTIC
Prime Minister Modi addresses the nation from Red Fort on 73rd Independence Day, August 15, 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his speech from the Red Fort today gave the clarion call to free India from single use plastic.
“Can we free India from single use plastic? The time for implementing such an idea has come. May teams be mobilised to work in this direction. Let a significant step be made on 2nd October”, he said.
There are different views on the elimination of single use plastic and target date, targets are important in any process for improvement. Targets, aim and goal are always helpful in reminding to keep focus on final results. But, it is more important to start for initiation of process and this mainly propagate to encourage people to begin thought process in the society which generates the numerous ideas, ways, formation of groups of similar thinking people and surprisingly these groups converts in team who works in positive direction for fulfilment of targets.
DEFINITIONS OF PLASTIC AND SINGLE-USE PLASTICS
According to UN Environment report caption “Single use Plastic – A road for Sustainability”.
Plastic is a lightweight, hygienic and resistant material which can be moulded in a variety of ways and utilized in a wide range of applications.
Unlike metals, plastics do not rust or corrode. Most plastics do not biodegrade, but instead photo degrade, meaning that they slowly4 break down into small fragments known as micro plastics.
Single-use plastics, often also referred to as disposable plastics, are commonly used for plastic packaging and include items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These include, among other items, grocery bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups and cutlery.
1 According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Inexpensive, light and versatile – plastic came into human society in the 1800s and fit into different aspects of our everyday lives in ways that we don’t even notice anymore. It still remains true to its name of origin – the Greek word plastikos, meaning ‘fit for moulding’. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a scary example of how plastic accumulates in our oceans and makes its way into the stomachs of marine life that call the ocean their home. Garbage patches can now also be seen in the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean!
2 According to UN environment, Single use plastic a road map for sustainability
The economic damage caused by plastic waste is vast. Plastic litter in the Asia-Pacific region alone costs its tourism, fishing and shipping industries $1.3 billion per year. In Europe, cleaning plastic waste from coasts and beaches costs about €630 million per year. Studies suggest that the total economic damage to the world’s marine ecosystem caused by plastic amounts to at least $13 billion every year.
3 Industries and employment /jobs:
As per ET Updated: Oct 16, 2019, 09.46 AM IST
The uncertainty “has led to the closure of about 10,000 units and the plastic industry is staring at job losses of 4.5 lakh people ahead of the Diwali season,” said Jayesh Rambhia, co-chairman, environment committee, All India Plastic Manufacturers Association. “The industry urgently requires clear guidelines on what the short and long-term plan for single-use plastic is.” There are an estimated 50,000 plastic manufacturing units in the country. The government did not ban single-use plastic bags, small bottles, cups, plates, straws and certain types of sachets on October 2, as had been widely expected. It also hasn’t defined single-use plastic.
SOME EXAMPLES OF SINGLE USE PLASTIC AND ITS REPLACEMENT WITH ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY PRODUCTS:
Always it is advisable to start work on easy solution or focus on low hanging fruits, because in this case, if we start with alternate solution for water bottles, cool drinks bottles, will be a topic for discussion.
The other category of low hanging fruits of single use plastics are straw, plastic bag, cups and cutlery which are discussed below.
Straws – there is found to initiatives to develop replace plastic straws with biodegradable straws and options are available in market.
One of the example of making straws is by use of 100 % plant base Polylactic Acid(PLA) which is corn starch. It is easily degradable, as compare to paper straw this could not melt; it is heat resistance and environmental friendly
Plastic Bags – Plastic bags can be / is being replace(d) by cotton bags which is environmental friendly.
Cups and cutlery – Sugar case bagasse base Cups and cutlery are now being in manufacturing and under idea of innovation and improvement of existing way of composition and manufacturing practice.
Especially plastic tea cups and water glass are to be replace with Kulhar or Kulhad( in hindi it is written as कुल्हड़) also called as shikora, which is nothing but clay pots .
Same to be used by each and every one to save our mother earth from single use plastic, this required the behavior change. Here it is worth to mention that the biggest behavior change impact programme is “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” which is showing results in India. Looking towards the serious effect of single use plastic on environment, this change is expected at large.
The best part of Kulhar or Kulhad is that, one can enjoy Earthy aroma with each sip.