The majority of us criticise plastic for all the problems it creates, yet continue to use it, ignorant of our own hypocrisy.
Plastic could be the best example of a double-edged sword in the modern times. How else can one describe a material which results in highly beneficial components in heavy industries, which equally well is a contributor to heaps of trash in every city and village? Without plastic, much of our technological advancement would have been impossible, and so too many of our ecological blunders.
Future in peril
Naturally, the majority of us criticise plastic for all the problems it creates, yet continue to use it, ignorant of our own hypocrisy. Seminars discussing energy conservation and reducing wastage will be held in posh airconditioned hotels with flex banners, reams of printed papers, manufactured gifts, seminar kits wrapped in plastic, packaged snacks, food trays and cups and of course the omnipresent mineral water bottle.
It is as if we know only how to talk, but not how to walk our talk. If we cannot act on our own words, the future of ecology is no doubt in peril.
Amidst all such contradictions, the news that Bengaluru has banned certain plastic products comes both as a relief and a surprise. Relief for known reasons, but surprise because it finally showed that the government has the will power to chart a green future for the State.
Years after the burden of plastic trash has been discussed, administrative shake-ups happened, villages with trash fill sites refused permission, Bengaluru drastically slipped in clean city ratings and just when the majority residents gave up hopes on a better city, this news is a pleasant surprise.
Thousands of city residents have switched over to alternatives to plastic, especially in carry bags, water bottles, and home storage materials. They have conclusively proved that reducing the use of plastic in daily life is possible and some cities have already achieved a ‘no plastic’ policy. However, people are helpless when it comes to buying fruits, vegetables and groceries which in the past came in loose bags, but today everything comes in packs of different weights.
This adds to wastage due to general needs like biscuits and toothpastes which were always pre-packed.
All such individual efforts can ensure only negligible reduction in wastage without government support.
We need to wish for all cities and States in India to restrict usage of plastic, like Bengaluru has done now after much delay.
Having said this, who is the real culprit in consuming and wasting plastic-based products?
Why are industries producing and shops selling them?
Who demands fashionable newer merchandise every month in the malls?
Why are daily-use products still in usable condition discarded?
What happens to dresses, bags, footwear, stationery and many fancy items hoarded in homes beyond the numbers needed?
For thousands of such questions, there are no answers outside our selves. We are the cause for everything and we are the trash makers. Banning plastic is not the ultimate solution, but we need to ban all our activities which are not eco-friendly and which make no green sense.