Plastics have opened the way for a plethora of new inventions and devices. Its low cost of production, light weight and easy process of manufacture has made it a raw material of choice for the manufacturing of plastic bags and packaging materials. But this virtually indestructable plastic has become the bane of poor developing countries like ours, where the governments battling on many fronts have let the menace of plybags grow.
India’s towns and cities are littered with ploybags. They float on busy roads and wave like prayer flags from the top of the trees. Waste dumped in plastic bags on the street for collection often ends up in the stomach of the foraging cattle. The plastic industry is jumping on the green bandwagon with a new line of environmentally safe products. In reality, these products are no friend of the environment.
Indian environmentalists have been raising alarm bells for years now, saying local manufacturers flout safeguards and plastic recycling is infact detrimental to health. A recent study that I happened to read, stated that the quality controls are absent in polybag manufacturing. It also highlighted that about 60% of the some 18000 odd manufacturing units in the country are unregistered.
We all are aware that food kept in contaminated plythene bags over a period of time could lead to anemia, vertigo and in advanced stages damage the nervous system. Our biology classes taught us that plastics are non-biodegradable causing mother earth to reject them. They pose a serious threat to the ecological system as they hamper the growth of the plants. Plastics choke drains and sewers resulting in overflowing gutters.
The hazards plastics pose are numerous. Worse still, even as the damage continues an organisation as large as Gas Authority Of India, releases a half-page advertisement saying that plastics are recommended because if you dont use them, and use paper bags instead, you cut more trees. I wonder how many people I can explain to, that plastics will inturn ensure that the ground becomes impossible for trees to take root, that animals choke and we suffer the effects of toxins in the environment.
Its high time, we move back to the age-old newspaper bags as they are a much more environmental friendly option and its for all of us to take steps to remove this enemy.
(This article was written by me way back in 2002. So any mention of statistical figures, reports, or advertisements, pertains to that period.)