Editorial | Problem of Plastic Waste

One of the pressing problems faced by the modern day urban mangers is to dispose off the plastic waste. We all know how huge a problem plastic waste is at the global level. Since it doesn’t decompose, it threatens our environment in ways never known before. Its non-biodegradable nature has caused problems for agriculture, and for water bodies. Plastic waste kills the earth’s surface and the water bodies flowing on it. There have been a number of ideas that the experts around the world discussed in the last decades about how to manage plastic waste, but till now, at least in the developing world, no worthwhile solutions have been forthcoming. In our valley, even when a ban was announced on the use of polythene, it didn’t disappear from the markets. Then there were many alternatives that were floated time to time. But nothing has so far replaced a polythene bag. This is a beast of a problem that refuses to go away. To arrive at a workable solution, it is incumbent on the administration to desist from making huge announcements, and then followed by a failure on ground. It is better that the problem is fully analysed, and a process oriented solution is adapted. Here, the administration can limit the production of polythene to possible minimum, restrict its transportation into the valley, and after a sustained public sensitisation campaign resort to penalising the errant. Part of the process should be to find out alternatives and popularise them.

At the same time the plastic waste that is produced from whatever source, has to be managed scientifically. In this regard if the Srinagar City is soon going to get Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) at different places, it is a good step in the right direction. It can encourage scientific disposal of plastic and other non-biodegradable waste. This can go a long way in healing the wounds we have inflicted on our environment. And then the administration has not to stop here. One, more machines have to be procured to cover towns as well. Two, we have to keep a keen eye on the global best practices in the management of plastic waste.