Earthwatch: The time has come to ban plastic

Even many hundred years from now, forensics will unearth the scourge of the ‘plastic epoch’ of the present century. Plastic has encased and boosted the capitalist market economy and brought us to the precipice of environmental pollution the earth has never seen. Time has come to end this Frankenstein. The following quotes define the menacing situation.

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“A peek into the eateries is enough to tell you the story of the single use plastic, as India hurtles down the road of development.”—Hindustan Times

“Out of the 335 tonnes of plastic produced, 9% gets recycled. By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. The debris may last 500-1000 years, its micro particles finding its way up the food chain, back to humans.”—National Geographic

Global initiatives to eliminate single use plastic: In March 2019,environmental leaders met in UAE and pledged to clean up 10 major river systems across Africa and Asia, creating awareness in communities against the use of single use plastic. The US, Europe and Japan have made regulations with the help of large corporations to reduce plastic waste. Manufacture of recyclable and compostable plastic has begun.

Jamaica, known to have the highest per capita use of plastic, has banned the manufacture, importation and distribution of disposable plastic bags.

The dismal Indian scene: Rules banning single use plastic is lax across the country. Plastic waste management rules lie unimplemented. In Tamil Nadu, the plastic manufacturing association demanded its total withdrawal as 2 lakh jobs would be lost.

A citizen’s movement is picking up to bring about social awareness of the scourge of plastic. In its agenda is a move to change the lifestyles of businesses and individuals.

A “Sea to Source” Ganges expedition, a national Geographic initiative, to clean rivers of plastic has been launched. The group will visit communities en route to create awareness against the use of plastic.

The time has come for us, as individuals, to take the “ban plastic” pledge.