Sunday, October 4, 2009

Stop use of Plastic

Stop Use of Plastic

An incident at a shopping mall inspired me to write this post.
I had been to a shopping mall in Powai where I was standing in line at the pay counter to pay for the stuff I had taken. An elderly woman was standing right in front of me and was checking her stuff at the counter, the receptionist at the counter filled her belongings in 3 plastic bags and gave it to her. The women refused to take the plastic bags and gave her cloth bags and asked the receptionist to put her belongings in those bags. Seeing those cloth bags I was so amazed and happy that I actually thanked her for using such cloth bags and since I had little stuff to carry I asked the receptionist to arrange me a paper bag instead of the plastic one, which she did.

Mumbai produces 7,800 tons of garbage daily - 40 tons of which is plastic.
Our city being near to the coastline all our sewage goes into the nearby Arabian Sea.
The plastic reaching the sea has catastrophic effect on the marine life.
Different species of sea life including whales, dolphins, seals and turtles die due to plastic bags.
They die after ingesting plastic bags which they mistake for food. The fish sometimes do not die but get poisoned and when such fish comes to the local market the person consuming such fish suffers from food poison.
In large number of cases it sadly results to death.

In today's competitive market there has been a rise in the number of malls and more consumers are switching over to malls and fresh food chains for household shopping which has led to drastically high use of plastic bags. The plastic bags is banned under the
Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999 (amended 2003-2006), and various state rules.
Thick bags also have their own set of problems as thick plastic bags are the most difficult to degrade.It cost more to recycle a bag than to produce a new one.

Since plastic is not degradable it collects on the dumping grounds resulting in wastage of land as the ground cannot be further used for other activity.Use of plastic is not only bad for our city but is an global issue. Countries all over the world have have taken steps to reduce use of plastics by either banning or taxing use of plastic.Bangladesh has banned plastic bags, Ireland took the lead in Europe, taxing plastic bags in 2002. In 2005 Rwanda banned plastic bags and has now reduced plastic bag consumption by 90%.

It is our responsibility as learned citizens of our country to limit the use of plastic bags as far as possible. We should ourselves not use such plastic bags and encourage our near ones to stop use of these bags.

Things we can do as responsible citizens of our country:

>> Do not use plastic bags at all and encourage our near ones to stop the use of plastic bags.

Retailers do not pay attention to eco-friendly aspects. Consumer education is missing. So if you do not ask for plastic bags they will not give you one. And if they give you one, refuse it and tell them that there is a fine and it is banned!

We should carry our own bags before going to the market or for shopping.

If you happen to see plastic bags lying around dispose them off in the bins which will be hopefully segregated later and not end up in the rivers or choke the drainage system.

If you are a retailer you can also set up state-of-the- art recycling centres.

Big Shopping complexes where the maximum reach can be aimed at; paper, jute, even cloth bags and other materials which are biodegradable can be promoted.

Encourage students to make and use cloth /paper bags.

Enforcement of the Maharashtra Plastic Carry Bags (Manufacture and Usage) Rules 2006 also comes under the purview of the State Pollution Control Boards, the industries department and the district collector.

Clean Mumbai Green Mumbai

Lets make our city a better place to live in.

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