Havoc of Plastic Bags
It has become a kind of a style statement for masses to carry things in plastic bags. Heap of polythene waste can be located at every corner of the locality one lives in. According to Central Pollution Control Board 10 thousand tons of plastic waste is generated that is nine percent of the 1.20 lakh Tons Per day of Municipal Solid Waste in India. Big numbers of stray animals like cows die every year due to consuming this dangerous chemical stuff. Indian government under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 has banned use of polythene bags in the market but it seems on papers. Go and visit any market of this nation and one can find polythene in the hand of every person buying vegetables, soap or any other household item.
There have been so many hue and cries over the banning of this chemical hazard but polythene has made its presence so strong in the social fabric that it has become a sort of habit. People feel comfortable carrying a poly bag in place of a simple cloth bag.
Women going to market for shopping ask poly bags for everything, complains a shop owner. It has become a kind of a daily habit for citizens and coming out from a set routine is very tough. The worst part of polythene is that it never decays and using habits are rapidly making inroads into rural parts of our country. This growing problem needs a serious approach and efforts if we wish to see our coming generations breathing in a clean and green atmosphere.
With its reach expanding to rural areas, polythene has started showing its after effects that includes low production, water logging and cattle deaths. Some states are quick to react on such reports other as reluctant as they were earlier. But there has been no effective measures planned yet which can turn this ban into an effective Act and violation of it should be feared by users in fear of repercussions that will follow afterwards. And more than that people participation is very much needed in this cause. Until and unless people start feeling that poly bags should be banned at the earliest there can be no help to government.
Big rivers like the Yamuna are the victim of human negligence. Even after several measures to clean Yamuna in Delhi, polythene waste can be seen littered here and there at the banks of this historical river. Delhi in March this year has imposed ban over the use of poly bags but there has been no change in the using habits people and one can find polythene available easily in market.
But there are few good signs are also visible. Some aware persons, after understanding its after effects have started carrying home made paper bags to avoid polythene. Some companies have started giving their products in paper bags to join this say-no-to-poly bags cause.
But much more is needed to be done at grass-root level. First to kill the habit of polythene among new generation kids, lessons should be taught at school level to tell the kids the harmful effects of polythene. This spreading habit should be stopped at the earliest and there should be some street plays and other campaigns to discourage people to use polythene in every part of our nation no matter village or town.
This is expected from the educated lot of India to take this responsibility in their hands to stop poly bag usage and to create awareness among the masses who does not know its hazardous effects on the environment. Though NGOs and other socially active people are giving their efforts to educate people about the harms of polythene but more co-operations is needed from society.
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Madhvendra Singh Chauhan
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