The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has suddenly woken up from its long hibernation and announced a BLANKET ban on plastic carry bags last month. Keeping in tune with our 21st century pragmatism, this initiative was promptly attacked citing the no doubt valid excuse that the livelihood of 5 lakh people employed in the various plastic manufacturing units.
As per today’s norm some interested party filed a PIL saying that Supreme Court has banned only plastic bags below 40 microns and that GHMC’s blanket ban is therefore illegal. Hue and cry was raised by various politicians and finally the expected “partial” rollback was made by the GHMC – banning all plastic bags below 40 micron and making it illegal to manufacture or supply these bags. This was followed by surprise checks and raids on few shops and malls to bring home the seriousness of the ban.
This action though welcome raises some more though provoking issues about Plastics. As a regular Indian living, working, travelling and breathing the air of this country, this made reflect on what Plastic means to us and an urge to share some of these with all those reading this blog. Lets see some day to day habits of our fellow residents
An elderly patient buys a single strip of Crocin in the nearby pharmacy but does not like to carry it in his pocket. Feeling a need to strengthen his ageing fingers, he request the pharmacist to put this strip in a cover and carries it in his hand!
At a supermarket, she has bought her weekly groceries numbering more than 30 items. Each item is well packed by itself…the Pears soap in its plastic cover and then in a carton while the rice is in a sealed thick plastic bag. But the doting mother is extra sensitive about her family’s health and hygiene albeit within the house…so the items have to be placed in separate plastic carry bags. Then she has the supermarket helper carry the 6 bags to her car !
The busy executive has no time or energy to walk to the eatery down the road so he orders a working lunch of a dosa from the same place. His office boy gets this for him. One dosa wrapped in plastic film and then in a newspaper, one coconut chutney in a plastic carry bag, sambhar in another, red chutney in another and all these are put into a bigger carry bag to take out. He would probably find opening these and setting up to eat the food more tiring than just going to eat at the restaurant!
We students just love hanging out at the neighbour hood chai adda and tweet about it. Once we finish our chai, served in tiny plastic cups, we fling the cup with a casual and stylish flick of the wrist letting Mother Nature taken care of the rest.
Housewife, working man or woman, student or patient…the story of our lives is the same in this one respect. We are servants of Plastic. Plastic dominates every aspect of our lives. We have subjugated any thoughts or ideas we had (if ever) to the power of Plastic. We drink water in plastic, tea in plastic, juice in plastic and buy Coke and Pepsi in larger plastic bottles. We carry even the tiniest item in plastic. In some states we even buy 200 ml of water in plastic bags to drink and throw away!
And here is the ultimate example of our devotion to PLASTIC:
A devout Hanuman bakht offer prayers every Saturday and am rewarded with a bunch of flowers blessed by the deity. On his way home, he discards these but how can he throw these holy items in the garbage! That’s sacrilege! So he flings them into a nearby garden to join the flowering trees there. The only problem – they are tied up in a….you guessed it…extra thin transparent plastic bag!!
THIS PLASTIC IS TRULY A WASTE FROM OUR VIEW POINT. WHY?
BECAUSE WE NEVER ACTUALLY USE THE PLASTIC FOR ENRICHING OUR LIVES IN ANYWAY. We don’t eat it, we don’t breathe it, we don’t drink it. We don’t even play with it or study it or do any useful activity with it. So where does it all go then after it gives us that momentary satisfaction! Well we all know that by now!
In the neighbourhood dumps where it may remain till the sanitation department takes it to a landfill where it will remain buried for a Million years!
On the roadside till someone sweeps it up and burns it sending those carcinogenic fumes into the homes of the unfortunate souls residing nearby!
In the rainwater drains and nallahs where it collects at the bottleneck points choking the drains and stagnating water helping those health hazards namely mosquitoes to breed in multitude and help increase the sale of diagnostics and medicines!
Adorning the beautiful countryside especially all along the nations pride and lifeline – the railway tracks!
Carried away by winds to the country fields and forests, it is eaten by unsuspecting animals and birds who don’t know what hit them till it is too late!
So conclusion in simple words
We are devoted to Plastic
But we don’t use it to enrich our lives
And we dump it in an instant
Allowing it to attack us in turn
Killing us …in the long run!