The Polythene Pandemic

Govt. should impose a strict ban on the growing menace of polythene
A ragpicker walking on a heap of garbage at a dumping ground during a beach clean-up drive by local environment preservation organization volunteers on the occasion of World Earth Day 2022, at the bank of Mithi river, in Mumbai. [Representational Image]
A ragpicker walking on a heap of garbage at a dumping ground during a beach clean-up drive by local environment preservation organization volunteers on the occasion of World Earth Day 2022, at the bank of Mithi river, in Mumbai. [Representational Image] File: ANI

Polythene is a very cruel thing to happen to our environment. This non-biodegradable substance chokes the life of creatures on earth. It produces poisonous chemicals that damages life of all creatures.

Fish die in ponds, lakes, and rivers; plants wither and dry soon after plantation; flowers do not bloom; humans, animals, insects, and birds are victim of different diseases. All because of polythene bags which are, no doubt, handy and light but extremely detrimental.

As the world population continues to grow, so does the amount of garbage that people produce. Covid has not so far completely left the yard, yet, accumulation of polythene seems to have set up a new pandemic for us called polythene pandemic.

As polythene is composed of major toxic pollutants, it has the potential to cause significant harm to the environment in the form of air, water, and land pollution.

If we just, for a while, close our eyes and ask ourselves, ‘who is responsible for degrading the environment on the earth, the answer will identify us as the culprits. Yes, it’s, undoubtedly, we, who have polluted the valley. Because of our misdeeds, fish die sinless in water-bodies.

Plants don’t grow because humans have inflicted death on them. Caring only about self, we throw away polythene bags conveniently on roads, in parks, and wherever it is possible. Our environment has become a waste-land. It’s self-destructive and alas, we don’t realise! We are cutting the same branch, we are perched on.

How ironic, we see heaps of polythene-bags everywhere now and are unmoved! Each day, we go on adding tons of polythene to the already un-scaled mark. Our drainage system in the towns and cities wasn’t that bad.

It’s we who have made it worst by throwing polythene bags in these drains unnecessarily. We choked these drains with so much of polythene waste. That’s why no sooner it rains that many areas start drowning.

A decade or two back, we used to carry things differently. But now despite being literate, we feel sad, if a shopkeeper refuses to give us something without a polythene bag.

We feel awkward to carry a basket to the market to buy things. See, how brazen we have become! We collect polythene envelops and other plastic scraps in our own compounds and throw them away later without bothering about what it does to the surroundings? It ultimately affects us as well but we never understand that.

We are ill-fated, if we don’t change the way we deal with our environment. If we don’t wake up now, then the day is not far when we will be struggling for a drop of pure water, a morsel of unadulterated food, and a breath of clean air. J&K Government should impose a strict ban on polythene bags. Though the bans were imposed quite many a time in past, yet, they were not worked out and supported by all of us, in letter and spirit.

The bio-degradable bags is an alternative to polythene bags. They are eco-friendly, harmless to environment and add fertility to soil after decomposition.

JK Agro Industries have already collaborated with an Italian Company, Earth Soul Perces Bilmore, for supplying Kashmir valley bio-degradable plastic bags. Govt. has already identified land at Baribramna, Jammu for setting up the unit for manufacturing of these eco-friendly bags.

We should support NLCO (Nageen Lake Conservation Organization), LAWDA (Lakes And Waters Development Authority), SMC (Srinagar Municipality Authority) and to all other NGOs working for the implementation of ban on polythene pandemic.

No doubt, much has been done till now. However, much is yet to be done. Like tin, paper and plastic, etc. that vendors collect, polythene bags too must be collected for recycling.

According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) survey in 2017-18, India on an average generates 4060 tonnes of polythene waste per day which has increased manifold now.

Come, let’s stop using polythene-bags to retain our environment its beauty and freshness. Let’s conserve what our children deserve. Next time when you go shopping, don’t forget to carry a cloth/jute bag with you.

Avoid bringing polythene-bags home and purchasing items with too much of polythene packaging.

Manzoor Akash is a teacher.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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