ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Plastic Calamity

Banning single-use plastics is inadequate without enforcing the law and creating consumer awareness.

Edicts and pronouncements do not bring about change; they need to be backed by detailed, realistic, and implementable plans. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on 5 June, World Environment Day, that India would eliminate single-use plastics by 2022 is a dramatic statement of intent, it is not yet evident that the deadline is based on a considered plan to make this actually happen.

Discovered in 1898, polyethylene, or what we call plastic, became available for mass production only in 1939. Since then, the material has invaded our lives—from single-use plastic bags and packaging to many other utilitarian uses. It is cheap, light and flexible. Replacing it is not an easy task. It is also a symbol of a kind of economic development model, which we in India have imported and embraced from the older industrialised countries, that is premised on the principle of discard and replace. Nothing is supposed to last. Only then can the engines of industry continue to grow. Replacing this model now appears unthinkable. Yet, this is the source of our cavalier approach in accepting a throwaway culture that has led to what the United Nations Environment Programme calls a “plastic calamity.”

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Updated On : 27th Jun, 2018
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