You must have heard about the ban on the use of plastic bags in Maharashtra, right? The ban that’s in effect since June 23, 2018, prohibits the manufacturing and use of plastic bags and other disposable materials made of plastic. Anyone found breaking the law will be fined ₹5,000.
If you’re caught the second time, you will have to shell out ₹10,000. And for the third time, the fine would be ₹25,000 and 3-month imprisonment. MPCB – Maharashtra Pollution Control Board – will keep the ban on check with the help of local authorities. But is it for the environment or to earn from fines?
While there are few places in Sikkim and Kerala where the citizens have minimised (as well as stopped) the use of those plastic bags, there haven’t been any widespread bans in India. And how can you, do you have a suitable alternative to plastic bags?
No, I am not trying to encourage people to use plastic bags, but I am not even in favour of the complete ban. And here’s why.
The use of Plastic
Plastic is immortal, literally, and it’s everywhere. You go to buy vegetables, the seller will put all in individual polythene bags. You buy medicines, they put them in separate paper envelopes and pack it all in a plastic bag. Even your next door store will provide you with a plastic carry bag to take all those items home.
But why? Because they come cheap and weigh nothing. Even the mineral water and soft drinks come in plastic bottles, which we throw away after emptying. And they then, keep piling up for ages. Materials made of plastic never decay and thus, contribute to pollution.
And to curb this plastic pollution, the government has taken this drastic measure, to ban the use of plastic altogether. But what green alternatives to plastic do you have?
Alternative to Plastic Bags
Not all plastic is banned. Plastic bags above 50 microns, multilayered and tetra packaging materials are exempted for the time being. The industries are given three months to come up with an environment-friendly alternative to plastic.
So, while companies can replace their plastic pouches with a bag made of cloth, the same doesn’t hold true for food items. Can you think of a way to pack milk and other liquid items without using anything coated with plastic? Is there any cheaper way to waterproof your courier packets than plastic bags?
And next, the thing about paper bags! You need first to find a better way to make paper than preparing them from trees. Then only we can use packets made of paper widely. Else, paper bags too would cause an environmental disaster.
Solution to Plastic Pollution
We simply can’t stop using plastic bags. We can, however, minimise its usage. Taking a big cloth bag for shopping would be a definite help in reducing the plastic waste. About 30% of our plastic waste goes into the oceans.
The only solution is a proper disposal system, and recycle and reuse of plastic. Don’t you think so? Toothpaste, snacks and other eatables, and various other things, all come in plastic packets. And the government may allow the industries to continue using plastic packaging if they can come with recyclable packaging methods.
Also, the government is discussing buyback rates for plastic bottles. Thus, if you return your empty bottle instead of throwing it, you will get ₹1 or ₹2 or whatever the final decided rate is. And here I found a brief article about how to recycle different plastics and the various things you can make with used plastics.
Your views are welcome.
P. S. I am in no way have any political connection. Just saying! 😛