All eyes were on India as it hosted the 43rd World Environment Day, at the capital with UN Environment Chief, Erik Solheim. This year, the theme and focus of countries from across the globe, has been plastic pollution. Even though plastic ban in India is seeing slow improvement, India remains one of the top 10 countries to splurge way too much on plastic usage.
Plastic has contributed immensely in terms of statistics, towards climate change. Mitigation has become very necessary as the world has come together to protect the future of mother earth. With the Paris Agreement being propagated, even India plans to participate in the movement. For developing countries, climate change mitigation is a tough nut to crack with all the repercussions it has on their economy and growth. However, despite the shortcomings, India plans to ban plastic (one of the most used commodity) across the states to protect the environment.
INDIAN STATES THAT BANNED PLASTIC BAGS:
Maharashtra goes plastic free in March, 2018
For Maharashtra, they learnt their lesson back in 2005 when the ominous floods wiped out the economic capital of the country, well, almost. The thought of Mumbai floods still leaves a shudder down my spine as I think of those three days. The biggest scoundrel to have led to the deaths of thousands in Mumbai that fateful year was none other than plastic. Plastic bags and other plastic commodities led to clogging of drains which left no room for the water to leave the city. The immediate step for disaster management in 2005 post the floods was to ban plastic. However, can’t say they had a successful streak since the commodity bounced back and boomed.
Once again, in 2018, more than a decade later, Maharashtra CM, Devendra Fadnavis announced a blanket ban on the use of plastic bags. From shopping marts to food joints, everyone has had to comply with the ban of plastic. In fact, McDonald’s has stopped selling plastic straws to its customers. Initially, shopkeepers and entrepreneurs were fined for giving plastic bags to their customers. However, a new rule has been passed wherein individuals spotted carrying plastic bags will be fined instantly. These changes have happened in the past three months. The seriousness to eradicate plastic is in the air and citizens seem to be putting all efforts to support the cause.
Tamil Nadu to go plastic free by 2019 (complete eradication)
On World Environment Day, Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswami announced a state ban on plastic. Palaniswami plans to wipe out plastic from the face of Tamil Nadu by 2019. Exemptions will only be made for milk & oil packages and other necessary goods’ packaging. During the state assembly when the CM made the announcement, he credited the project to late CM Jayalalitha, who had set up an expert panel to ban plastic. Apart from water-logging, Tamil Nadu’s biggest concern with plastic is its repercussions on the water tables. Since the state’s primary water source is groundwater, rainwater’s inability to reach the borewells and other water tables due to blockage by plastic has resulted in tremendous water shortage.
Also, Tamil Nadu suffers from severe winter rains that often wreck the city by flooding the streets. The past consecutive years are proof of the impact of incessant rainfall in Tamil Nadu’s capital, Chennai. This issue has also been considered as yet another reason to ban plastic from the state.
How Sikkim is tackling with plastic eradication
Here’s a tale from the Himalayas that I’m sure you never heard before. To many, Sikkim is the land of picturesque Instagram posts supplemented with Darjeeling tea leaves. But not many know this that Sikkim is India’s first state to ban plastic which dates back to 1998. It started with plastic bags for them which soon transpired into plastic bottles, Styrofoam plates, glasses, forks, knives, spoons, basically anything plastic that could harm the environment. They have been relentlessly fighting against the notorious plastic industry, deflecting every new product introduced to them.
Tourism does make it difficult for them to maintain a plastic-less decorum. However, since they adhere to strict rules to curb plastic, even tourists are made to follow them without protest. Sikkim could be called as the land closest to no-plastics, in India.
How the women are changing their sanitary pads to a biodegradable one
While State-wise, government authorities, especially the environmental departments are taking stringent actions to curb plastic, scientists are finding alternatives for all products made of plastic. Here’s a tidbit about sanitary pads that Akshay Kumar’s Padman may not have communicated to you. As per reports, the average number of sanitary napkins used by women comes to approximately 10,000-15,000 pads in a lifetime. These are mathematically equivalent of 40,000-60,000 plastic bags. Shocking? Well, that. However, a biodegradable alternative has recently sprung up. Courtesy Anju Bist, co-creator of Saukhyam Pads, women now have alternatives for reusable sanitary pads that won’t make them feel guilty of menstruating every month.
Made of banana fibre as the absorbent material and cotton cloth for the base, these sanitary napkins are comfortable to use and not too harsh on the environment when disposing of.
Special mention: Sudarsan Pattnaik’s heartening sand turtle creation on Puri beach
Sand artist, Sudarsan Pattnaik sure can stir the audience with his exhilarating artwork. The latest to shoot to fame is his sand turtle made out of the sand and plastic bottles to emphasize the growing concern towards plastic’s hazardous repercussion on the marine ecosystem.
These may just be a few instances of the plastic revolution India is currently fighting against, but it should suffice your curiosity and give you the inspiration to join them in our battle against plastic.