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Ambassador report

Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] BEAT THE PLASTIC

by Ananya Singh | 09-11-2018 21:38 Comments 10 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

In 2014, India made a resolution to achieve a clean country under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or the Clean India Mission. Many people participated in the programme and we do have cleaner platforms and streets, if not everywhere then, at least in some places. But the question is, does it really help to just clean your surroundings? The answer is it may not be so.

The production of plastic has outpaced almost every other material in the last decade. Added to this woe, is the fact that since the 1950s, when plastic production started to take off, more than 9 billion tons of plastic have been generated, distributed and discarded. Of that waste, only 9% has been recycled, 12% incinerated and 79% of what is essentially indestructible man-made material is either in landfill or polluting the environment. According to a news report, "every year, we throw away enough plastic to circle the Earth four times. Much of that waste doesn't make it into a landfill, but instead ends up in our oceans, where it's responsible for killing one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year." Plastic pollution has, thus, become an epidemic.

But what makes plastic so bad ? Most plastics are not biodegradable; they break down into smaller fragments known as microplastics. These microplastics contaminate the ocean, soil and the air, endangering both human and non-human species on earth.

Although plastic is undeniably useful, durable and affordable, the impact of this pervasive, non-biodegradable material on the environment will last for centuries. Hence, keeping the serious implications of the growing usage of plastic, the government has many a times come forth to stimulate the “cutting of the extensive usage of plastic”. In my home-state, Odisha (in India), the government has declared to entirely ban plastic all over the state, taking forward the motto - “If you cannot reuse it, refuse it.”

The government also tried imposing a penalty on the use of plastic bags but carry bags are not the only plastic we use. Each month, we use lots of plastic in the form of water bottles or soft drink bottles. Almost every product we buy comes wrapped in plastic be it food or toiletries. Even supermarkets tend to wrap vegetables in plastic. Things we buy online always come wrapped in plastic, be it a simple t-shirt or an electronic item. And home delivery, a rising trend now, has further escalated the use of plastic. Therefore, the efforts of the government alone cannot reduce the use of plastic but we, the common citizens, need to step up and take the challenge. A random penalty for the use of plastic bag is not going to stop its use but our conviction can.

So, here are the prescribed measures :

  1. We should not allow the plastic to reach the soil or water. Hence, the 3 traditional and popular ways we get rid of plastic have their own problems. When plastic sits in a landfill, harmful chemicals used to produce plastics such as BPA can leach into our groundwater. As for the small amount that gets incinerated, burning the plastic is a major source of air pollution and thus, harmful to human health. And while recycling is always encouraged, not only is the process energy intensive, plastics (for now) are not infinitely recyclable because when plastics break down, they usually break down into molecules that can't be easily reshaped into plastics or other useful items without going through many different chemical processes. Therefore, replacing the use of plastic with more eco-friendly alternatives like cotton bags, paper cups, etc will be a more meaningful way to tackle the problem. In the same regard, the recent decision by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on extending the mandate on packing food grains and sugar products in jute bags is welcome as it is a step that reduces plastic pollution.

  1. In my opinion, “demand pulls, supplies push” stands corrected in case of plastic pollution. Plastic is immensely popular among the masses because when people demand it, producers supply it. Hence, a more accurate way of dealing with the problem is to eliminate the supply in order to truncate the demand, and hence, bring down the levels of pollution caused by plastic. So, plastic-producing industries should be strictly regulated and heavily taxed, and if possible, be totally shut down to discourage the further production of plastic.

  1. Mass public awareness on the dangers of plastic hazards is a prerequisite.

We cannot be a silent audience to witness the gradual but eventual transformation of our world into a ‘plastic planet’. What is needed is collective public effort to stop plastic pollution and safeguard our ecosystem/biodiversity.

Beat the plastic


Ananya Singh

  • Ananya Singh says :
    Thank you Gyeongrin for your feedback ! :D
    Posted 21-11-2018 01:42

Ananya Singh

  • Ananya Singh says :
    Thank you Viraaj for going through my report ! :D
    Posted 21-11-2018 01:41

Gyeongrin mentor

  • Gyeongrin mentor says :
    Hello Ananya
    “demand pulls, supplies push” is a nice phrase that points out that we, as consumers are not a noninterest third-party audience but actually a participant of this whole system who could start a chain reaction to improve the current situation.
    The first step to positive change will be our ardent contribution!
    Thanks for the report!
    Posted 13-11-2018 19:14

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

  • Viraaj Kulshreshtha says :
    Let us move from silent spectators to active doers
    Posted 11-11-2018 03:34

Ananya Singh

  • Ananya Singh says :
    Namaste Deepak, great to hear about your itinerary in India. I absolutely agree with you pertaining to your comments on cleanliness in India. I too hope that the sanitation in all countries show remarkable improvement in the years to come. Thanks for your time and feedback. :D
    Posted 10-11-2018 15:04

Ananya Singh

  • Ananya Singh says :
    Hi @Kushal, Thanks for your time and feedback ! :D
    Posted 10-11-2018 15:02

Ananya Singh

  • Ananya Singh says :
    Hi @Israel, Thanks for your time and feedback ! :D
    Posted 10-11-2018 15:01

Deepak  Subedi

  • Deepak Subedi says :
    Hello Annanya, Namaste
    As a neighbor country, From Nepal, we almost know every big news of India, This moment to clean the country and beat plastic pollution is really appreciable, about implementation it need time, cleanliness is a culture, and in Asia Pacific most of we do not have this culture, so to adopt culture it need time, hope one day when I visit New Delhi it will be like Kanyakumari, clean Neat and peace.
    I have visited Gorakhpur, Kolkotta, Hyderabad, Chenni, Pondicherry, Rameshoram, Kanyakumari, Tripurantarum, Konchi, Bangalore, Maisore, Ooty, Goa, Mumbai, Agra, BrindaBan, Delhi in 32 Day in my college Tour. India is improving far in Development in almost every place I visited but pollution is still in massive amount. Southern part is quiet clean and tidy. I hope next time I visit India will be developed in cleanliness too. Thank you for such a beautiful report.
    Posted 10-11-2018 13:22

Israel Adeoye

  • Israel Adeoye says :
    Hi Ananya,

    You have mentioned it all! Implementation is what we hope for now.
    Thanks for the report.
    Posted 10-11-2018 00:33

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Thank you @Ananya for such a beautiful article on how we can beat plastic measures. We must try to apply the measures and reduce the use of plastics if we can't reuse it .
    Posted 09-11-2018 22:24

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