The strongest enemy

A normal plastic bag that we use in our daily lives takes 10-20 years to decompose, while a plastic bottle might take 450-500 years, and some of the items can take over 1000 years.

Courtesy HybridTechCar

These numbers might not seem huge to quite a number of people, but these figures clearly indicate that plastic is capable enough of surviving more than a majority of dynasties, ever existed. The not so dangerous looking enemy can outlast that impact of a nuclear blast, and is able to outlive the corruption in our country, and last longer than the Kashmir issue.

Despite all these facts, our government is continuously developing and acquiring arms, successfully demonetised currency and have abrogated the infamous Article 370, but our farsighted leaders are unable to tackle those polythene bags flying all over the streets of country’s mega cities.

On January 1, 2017, a ban on disposable plastic came into effect. The ban on disposable plastic like cutlery, bags and other plastic items, was imposed by the National Green Tribunal, amid concern over India’s growing waste. People of the national capital finally took a sigh of relief, that after boasting about the four Everests of waste, they might not get to see another one due to this ban.

Tughlaqabad’s towering trash all set to match Qutub Minar

Similarly, in October, 2019, a nation wide ban was imposed on single use plastic by the central government, all over India. The new law was no less than the Rafale, it was after several governments and four prime ministers, as the ban came after 21 years of the first major plastic ban, by a state, in the country. In 1998 Sikkim became the first state to ban single use plastic after heavy rains caused major landslides in the area. Experts partly blamed single use plastic as it blocked the drains.

Besides that, another fact that apparently became intelligible was Bombay Municipal Corporation and Maharashtra government’s ignorance of the annual Mumbai floods and the northeastern states, as they took almost 20 years to impose a plastic ban in Maharashtra.

While the conditions of majority of states is not appreciable, public’s attitude is not motivating the either way. In spite of the ban being imposed on single use plastic all over the nation, the public seem to care the least. Consumer’s reluctancy to use jute bags instead of plastic bags is making the situation worse.

A day’s plastic waste generated in India
Courtesy TOI

According to a report, published in Down to Earth, by PlastIndia foundation, India consumes 16.5 million tons of plastic annually, of which 43% is single use plastic, ideally used for packaging.

Moreover, the hopes in the foreseeable future does not seem to be high. The unfortunate conditions make it look like the authorities, producers and consumer have signed a pact of acting unworldly and benighted towards the doom that our not-so -dangerous looking enemy might bring. India is generating nearly 25,000 tons of plastic waste a day, of which over 10,000 tons is going uncollected.

Therefore, it can be rightly said that plastic is quite stronger than China, Covid-19, terrorism and the slowing economic growth. As our nation is successfully tackling all the enemies at the same time, but are unable to defeat those empty packets of snacks. Or this is high time that we ask, are we even trying?

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