Use latest technology to check pollution
Many earlier bans on plastic bags have failed miserably, as has been seen since the past two months, even the current effort is unlikely to succeed. That the plastic is a menace can’t be denied, but whether Centre’s single-use plastic ban from July 1 will be an effective measure was doubtful when the latest ban was announced. Huge amount of plastic waste is dumped at landfills and in oceans where it harms marine life and also impacts the human food chain adversely. But the problem is that alternatives to everyday plastic items are far more expensive, for example paper straws are costlier than plastic straws. So a better approach would work with the plastic industry to foster innovation and boost production of compostable plastics. In fact Government of India should support the creation of an entire waste management system around compostable plastics. The revolutionary enzyme developed in a US university, that accelerates the biological process to decompose plastics in a week, should be considered by our government and scientists.
Drastic decline in Plastic pollution
Certainly the ban has been able to bring down the plastic pollution in the district. Before imposing the ban there was widespread use of plastic throughout the city. But after the Centre government banned the manufacturing and sale of single-use plastic items across the country, scenario has entirely changed. Although plastic pollution still exists in the district, because the ban has not been implemented properly, but it can be rightly said the ban has been able to “bring down plastic pollution in the city by 80 percent” than the past pollution levels.
Crack the whip on manufacturers
In July this year the central government put a ban on manufacturing, sale and use of single-use plastic items throughout the country. Further if anybody is found flouting the ban, the defaulter can be procesuted under the provisions of law under which jail upto five years or penalty upto 1lakh or both could be imposed. Also local authorities like municipal committee/ Corporation have been directed to issue new licences with a condition that single use plastic item will not be retailed at the establishment. In brief the whole emphasis is on retailers. Instead of this, government should drop a ban on manufacturing of such items. It is easy to locate a limited number of manufacturers of such items than to locate thousands of retailers. But this is the way how our government works. Instead of putting ban on import of Chinese kite flying sting or its local manufacturing they always go after small retailers of the same. Prior to it, central government under plastic waste management rule 2016 banned sachets using plastic materials for packing, storing or selling of pan masala, tabacoo, shampoo and others. As government took no action on manufacturers of such products hence there is no compliance of the rules. The government doesn’t act against manufacturers, but just to show their presence officials act against petty shopkeepers. Let the government ban cigarette pack, which also falls under this category! They can’t, because big corporate houses are involved in the business and they fund political parties during elections. If government is serious ban single-use plastic, it should spare the retailers and act against manufacturers of items in which this type of plastic is used.
Use is still prevalent among street vendors
The ban on usage of single-use plastic items is a good step by the Central Government and it is being implemented fairly in Amritsar. Many shops have stopped using plastic bags, which has brought about a healthy practice of bringing own bags. But the usage of plastic bags is still prevalent among street vendors, which must be checked by authorities as many people shop from them. Although banning single-use plastic items will reduce plastic pollution, the proper disposal of garbage is needed.
Jatinderpal Singh Batth
Corporation should impose ban strictly
It needs to be recalled that many earlier bans on polythene bags and plastic single-use items have failed and as feared, even the current ban by the Centre from July1 hasn’t met any success so far. Some time ago the MCA had distributed cloth bags in the city, and the ban on manufacturing and use of polythene bags was imposed, but it was seen that no one cared about it. We can only hope that some concerted efforts to stop the use, manufacture and sale on these items can bring about the desired results. The use of plastic products like thermocol is more hazardous especially when such heaps of them are burnt in open. Some countries are allowing carry bags made of biodegradable materials with thickness exceeding 50 microns, but use of eco-friendly material will be more advisable. The Centre should advise all the states to set up waste management plants in all the cities. On local level the MC administration should strictly impose these restrictions to curb the menace, but proper participation of people can only yield the desirable results. The MCA and concerned authorities will have to work in tandem to get success.
Acting against small vendors useless
Despite the implementation of strict laws regarding the manufacturing and sale of single-use plastic items, the level at which plastic pollution persists seems to be unchanged. It is because the law has been enforced just on papers. The utilisation of single use plastic items will not stop until and unless, officials visit the manufacturing units to control its production and take the required action. As the producers of such items should be questioned as well as penalised instead of grabbing the retailers who cannot stop anyone including themselves to use these products in absence of any suitable alternative. For instance, recently in Punjab some authorities had enquired a fruit seller that why he is using polythene bags, his innocent reply was that why government does not take stern actions towards its makers. When such products will not be available in the market, how could anyone use these products. Therefore, the answer as well as the solution is clear that before cracking the whip on small vendors, the source of these things should be taught about its harmful impacts.
Make people aware of its ill-effects
Banning the manufacture, sale, and use of single-use plastic is a highly appreciable step by the Indian government. Virgin plastic as well as recycled is detrimental to human health as a number of health problems arise due to plastic. Plastic items are harmful and can be avoided by individuals. We may or may not need the plastic or polythene bag, yet we are supplied our purchasing in plastic carry bags. This single-use plastic causes health problems, clogs the drains, impacts soil fertility, and makes surroundings look dirty. Decomposition of plastic is so slow that it takes thousands of years. The government has taken the initiative, the district administration is to enforce and people have to follow the rule. How far it has been effective since the announcement can be measured by noticing the end-to-end study. Observing the shopkeepers’ response, many have started refusing to serve us in plastic bags, They suggest bringing your own bag or buying high-priced bag. In big stores, the ban is in force, Vendors and small shopkeepers still offer very substandard and recycled plastic bags. If people are getting the single-use plastic from somewhere, somebody must be selling it. Mere banning will bear no result unless it is implemented in letter and spirit.
Strict punishment can act as deterrent
Last month the government banned single-use plastic items in the rule book. The government did not try to make people aware of the harm done to mother earth with the usage of plastic. Many shopkeepers, vendors, fruit seller, vegetables seller do not know that the plastic items are banned. They are using it as usual. What is the use of making such a rule which cannot stop the single -use plastic items if the government is not serious about single-use plastic its implementation? The government should make people fully aware and give strict punishment to those who break the law. The government should stop the production of single -use plastic and the supply of such items should be completely stopped and the consumption will automatically stop eventually.
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