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

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Plastic Pollution, Public Framings, and Plastic Burning

Insights from Three Indian Towns

Engaging with Michelle Murphy’s regimes of perceptibility, we argue that framings of plastic pollution render certain dimensions of plastic pollution visible while eliding others, with adverse results on human and environmental health. When plastic pollution is understood predominantly through the lens of litter, it ends up encouraging toxic practices such as the open burning of plastic wastes.

Engaging with Michelle Murphy’s regimes of perceptibility, we argue that framings of plastic pollution render certain dimensions of plastic pollution visible while eliding others, with adverse results on human and environmental health. When plastic pollution is understood predominantly through the lens of litter, it ends up encouraging toxic practices such as the open burning of plastic wastes. To truly address the toxic health and environmental effects of plastics, policy and public communication framings must be cautious of and mitigate against the use of the aesthetic dimension as a heuristic in comprehending and acting upon plastic pollution.

The perils of rampant plastic dependence have become a topic of global concern in the last few years. Plastic use has seen an interesting shift in the past three decades. This is especially true in the case of India. Before the economic reforms that began in 1991 and the consumer revolution they ushered in, consumer plastics and plastic packaging were not ubiquitous in daily life in the country. Oftentimes, plastic bags, jars, and containers—even those purported to be single-use—were judiciously used, reused, and carefully retained (Doron and Jeffrey 2018; Pathak and Nichter 2019). Now, however, they have become widely available, accessible, and increasingly disposable. Given their ubiquity and the environmental concerns they pose, consumer plastics—especially plastic packaging and single-use plastics—have now become hyper-visible.

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Updated On : 30th Jan, 2024
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