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The Plastic Quandary

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Plastic is surely an invention that made many things easier, and our lives more comfortable. But in a very short span of time, it has now become one of the most problematic issues around – a threat to the very existence of humanity on this planet. That is solely because we humans have produced or consumed almost the same amount of plastic in a span of 15 years that we had earlier done in about 50 years. It is arguable that the population has increased in the same span of time, to meet the needs of which, the production and consumption has risen. But the tag of responsible consumers can never be attached to a majority of us, taking into consideration that humans have been lazy and careless in both illuminating oneself with the ill effects of plastics and the same time disposing it off or recycling it in an effective manner.

With all these arguments and discussions still on, a major concern that needs to be addressed about plastics would still be Single Use Plastics. Though many countries outside India have banned such plastic, to me it doesn’t seem that in near future India is going to follow those footsteps. It is only uproar or outburst of emotions to appeal and appease the citizens of India that we get to see politicians, act concerned about the climate change and its effect on Indians.

Any plastic that is made with the intension of single use is single use plastic (Carry bag doesn’t come under this category). All plastic used for packing – milk packets, chocolate wafers, biscuit packets, chips packet etc, and plastic bottles used either for beverages or water are all single use plastic. Almost 40% of plastic is produced for packing. How to address this massive problem? A complete ban of all these, is definitely going to affect both the producer and the consumer.

A step by step plan and execution of ban is the only way out. Wherein both the company and the government should take steps proactively with compete sense of responsibility towards the consumers.

Till that happens, we consumers have a lot to offer:

1. Stop using plastic straw to consume drinks. We can always tell the restaurant we order from that we do not need a plastic straw along. It has to be gulped down the throat that plastic straws are least likely to be recycled.

2. Using our own water bottles and refilling them as and when need arises.

3. Minimize use of packed products. By buying milk from the nearest diary or milkman, collecting milk in a vessel could be the least we could be doing. We could end up consuming milk that could be mixed with water but surely not adulterated with chemicals.

4. Using our own coffee mug at workplace to avoid use of disposable cups.

5. Using pilot pen or Fountain pen. Minimizing use of ball point pen.

6. Buying items in bulk to reduce plastic packaging.

7. Providing children homemade chocolates and cookies. Collecting chocolate wafers and biscuit packet cover for recycling.

There’s much for us to do at individual level only if we intended to do and more to contribute if we become a responsible citizen.

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