Dangerous Use of Plastic Bags

plasticConvenience and cost effectiveness of plastic bags are driving the society to the dangerous periphery. Despite hectic publicity against the use of plastic bags for common purposes there is decline of its use. All stakeholders should join with the government to stop the over use of plastic bags in every day lives.

The Times of India writes (16 July 2009)

Plastic is convenient. It is cheap, too. So plastic bags are ubiquitous in cities, towns and hill stations. From mega grocery store chains and retail outlets to pushcart vendors, eateries and restaurants, the plastic bag is the wonder solution to storage and cartage. Sadly it also kills hundreds of thousands of birds, whales, seals and turtles every year the world over. In India, discarded plastic bags choke not only drains leading to flooding in cities but cows, too. The animals eat leftover food-filled bags discarded on the roads, and suffer the consequences. Polythene bags are not biodegradable. In landfills, they leach toxic chemicals into the soil, contaminating groundwater. Polythene bags that are of less than 40-micron thickness are more harmful not only to the environment; as popular wraps for takeaway foods, they impact public health as well.

The issue at hand is to work out how we can reduce the risks with better usage and disposal methods as well as eventually replace plastic with safer options. A complete ban might not be the answer. Recycling is an option, and this could apply not only to recycling better quality plastic bags but also waste paper. The advantage of allowing bags that are more than 40 microns thick is that they have some economic value, and thus provide some incentive for recycling. Another option would be a plastic tax, which would lead to greater reuse of plastic as well as a shift towards more ecologically friendly packaging.

Reuse, reduce and recycle the three R’s of polythene use may be a popular mantra among schoolchildren, but we don’t take it seriously enough as adults. The throwaway culture is a major reason for increase in toxic garbage and sewage clogging. There are many alternatives to polythene bags. Encourage the use of jute bags and baskets that were used by shoppers before plastics. Use bags made of recycled paper, or else shopping trolleys and rucksacks or backpacks.

Bangladesh banned thin polythene bags in 2002 to solve the problem of blocked drains and flooding and it has worked. Delhi began with a ban early this year but the momentum seems to be petering out. Biodegradable polythene made of starch is another, less affordable option. A total ban on thin polythene bags coupled with practising the three R’s will help us take significant steps towards curbing the plastic menace.

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5 Comments

  1. mahilaaction said,

    +00002009-07-30T11:17:40+00:00312009bUTCThu, 30 Jul 2009 11:17:40 +0000 2, 2008 at 7.27 p07

    very use full information, mahila action is also working for Biodegradable meterials, and at the same time linkage with this product to incomegeneration activities to the poor women.

    • joseph kakumanu said,

      +00002010-12-03T17:38:26+00:00312010bUTCFri, 03 Dec 2010 17:38:26 +0000 2, 2008 at 7.27 p12

      on 23rd dec2010 we r going to take a rally on ban of plastic .taking a rally with 300 children with a special dress.that will be going to enter in the limca book of records cell no +91 9492869692
      Address
      Joseph kakumanu (Principal)
      St.Mary’s english medium school
      Mattampally (post)
      Nalgonda (dist)
      Andra pradesh
      India
      pin 508 225

  2. joseph kakumanu said,

    +00002010-12-03T17:39:11+00:00312010bUTCFri, 03 Dec 2010 17:39:11 +0000 2, 2008 at 7.27 p12

    on 23rd dec2010 we r going to take a rally on ban of plastic .taking a rally with 300 children with a special dress.that will be going to enter in the limca book of records cell no +91 9492869692
    Address
    Joseph kakumanu (Principal)
    St.Mary’s english medium school
    Mattampally (post)
    Nalgonda (dist)
    Andra pradesh
    India
    pin 508 225

  3. joseph kakumanu said,

    +00002012-02-09T11:35:46+00:00292012bUTCThu, 09 Feb 2012 11:35:46 +0000 2, 2008 at 7.27 p02

    lot of program mes are doing on the basis of ban the polythene covers but it is not going to the people.and for the persons who is doing this event not recognizing the govt and no encouraging with awards and certificates.It is better to encourage the persons who is doing

  4. +00002013-05-01T03:27:34+00:00312013bUTCWed, 01 May 2013 03:27:34 +0000 2, 2008 at 7.27 p05

    Check out my new blog: http://fighttheplasticbagban.com/

    On my blog I have a downloads menu item. If you click on that there are a number of papers that I have written that can be downloaded.

    One paper titled “Negative Health and Environmental Impacts of Reusable Shopping Bags” deals with the health issues more extensively than you did in the article above. For example, in addition to bacteria, viruses and virus transmission with reusable shopping bags could make other sick. Also, people who have AIDS or a suppressed immune system may be more sensitive to bacteria in reusable bags then people who have normal immune systems. About 20% of the population fit in this category.

    Also, when bag bans are implemented people always complain about all those plastic bags that end up in the landfill. But they have never stopped to calculate all the stuff going into a landfill after a plastic carryout bag ban compared to before. It would surprise you to know that 3 to 4 times the amount of material goes into the landfill post ban than pre ban. Those plastic carryout bags are sure looking good. see my article titled “Fact Sheet – Landfill Impacts” for the details and the calculations.

    There is much more.


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