Single use plastic ban
Single use plastic:Indians are plastic addicts. For them single use (disposable material) category is no different than any other plastic goods as there is a very thin line to grasp. The urbanises in major and minor metros are also finding it difficult to distinguish the difference between good and bad plastic. They are a confused lot.
When half of Indian population has been consuming edibles in single use plastic for over four decades, the ban comes a we bit late considering that the government knew that the country generated about 26,000 tons of plastic every year.
The ban, in force from October 2, axed thousands of street hawkers who sold soups, soda lime or sweetened ‘lassi’ in disposable plastic glasses least knowing that they were selling slow death to the human beings and were contributors to the environmental erosion. This trend of plastic quashed the then India which was using the paper and cloth bags during the local grocery shopping in 70s. Plastic, they said, was better. But none knew which plastic the government was talking of and till date, 97 per cent of consumers are unaware of what kind of plastic one is using at home or in office. Plastic was first invented in 1855 by Alexandar Parkes and years down the line we had polyvinyl chloride (PVC), bakelite and others.
It’s the trust that matters most. From Tupperware to the known ‘halwais’, now selling under various brands of Haldiram, Bikanerwala, Frontier biscuits etc, the plastic containers they have been using does have the fork and wine glass symbol which indicates that the plastic is food safe. We are yet to find laboratories within the reach of the common man to get it tested for its safety.
The government has not banned the polyethylene terephthalate ( PET) bottles but there is a rider. Not many among us know that the PET bottles have a number at the bottom which clarifies if it can be used for edible substances in it. The numbers vary from 1 to 7.
Single use plastic ban
Number 1 denotes that the plastic used is PET. This kind of plastic can be recycled and does not harm the environment.
Number 2 indicates that the bottle or container is made of high-density Polyethylene and is mainly used for packing detergents and shampoos among other commodities
Number 3. Generally, this plastic is made from PVC and in probability contains carcinogens. This number is hardly marked at the bottom and lots of jar are in circulation containing the popular herbs like oregano, rosemary etc.
Number 4. This is a reusable plastic and is safe for storing grocery items.
Number 5. All items made from this plastic are very safe and are being used in Europe for storing ice creams, jams, etc. Their use is single time but do not fall in the dangerous category.
Number 6 and 7. The moment you see this number, get alert. They are the worse of the plastic items. Made from Polystyrene and Poly-carbonate Bis-phenol A (BPA), the items may lead to hormone disruption in the human body and continued use may give way to cancer and heart diseases.
The government has spent crores of rupees on various campaigns in the country and the schemes floated by it but no such campaign on this subject was initiated on a large scale in this country. We have had no pollution campaigns, say no to crackers and other campaigns but none for the plastic. Now that water has crossed over our heads, it became imperative for the government to impose the ban.
All manufacturing companies of soft drinks and packaged drinking water have come out vociferously that their bottles containing the liquids are of usable quality but still who knows what is being served to us is actually reusable.
The packaging industry must have been the worst affected one but in a well-crafted ban by the Indian government the middle and the lower class became the prime sufferers.