Letter from Keshav R Garg
Since the government had been propagating the idea of banning one time plastic, I had been observing that its not only about the carry bags we use, it is much more, much grave which has become integral part of businesses today. From a candy wrapper to seat covers of a luxury car, everything is sold wrapped in one time use plastic. One can glance around him and shall certainly find the massive use of plastic. In day to day lives, it is always preferred to use polythene bags, not because we love to, but for utility it gives. Plastic is the only water and dust resistance substance to prevent the surface. Further it can be conditioned into any shape and size as per requirement.
From marriage halls to corporate meetings to government deliberations, plastic bottles are widely used. The reason is not the preference of plastic over glass, but the limitation of potable water in our country. I myself would prefer to have a mineral water bottle instead of water in a glass. There is always an apprehension that the reusable glass/bottles might not be good for health. This is what forced cold drink manufacturers to shift from glass bottles to plastic ones. Plastic although is a curse for the environment but it is something very essential to meet our daily needs. Confectionery items which are largely consumed in India are all packed in one time use plastic. They are even more harmful than the simple polythene bags we use. Since most of the big business houses are involved in manufacturing and packing of such items, it is next to impossible to ban plastic without having deterrent impact on our economy.
Festival season being around and once again use of one time plastic shall be at boom, Be it wrapping of dry fruits or packing of gifts, sale of electronics etc. everything includes plastic as a necessity. We do not have an economical replacement to cheap plastic. It is quite essential that the alternatives such as dissoluble packing materials, hand made jute bags, cloth wrappings must be preferred over the plastic bags. If government is serious about eliminating plastic, it must announce subsidies on non-plastic items to make them consumer friendly.
Solution does not lie in issuing notification but effectively implementing it. And we must accept the bitter truth that economy can revive, sooner or later but once environment is degraded, nothing shall be left for generations to come.
Keshav R Garg