Jalandhar, June 5
With the Punjab Government all set to ban single-use plastic by next month as part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions across state, the environment activists in the city throw light on issues like policies to regulate the use of plastic alternative, awareness on impact of plastic on environment, improve recycling and better waste segregation management, which they say must be addressed in order to ensure effective implementation of the ban.
Single-use plastics include plastic bottles, styrofoam takeaway containers, straws, plastic packaging materials, plastic cutlery, plastic sticks used in balloons, flags, candy, ice-cream and earbuds, and all plastic which is less than 100 microns in thickness.
Impact on environment
As single-use plastic is produced from fossil fuels, the process of extracting and creating these plastics emits huge amounts of greenhouse gases. It is estimated that just the extraction of these fossil fuels and their transportation to plastic factories emits 12.5 to 1.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases.
The environment activists said a similar ban was announced by the government in 2016 also, in which it banned the use, manufacture and sale of plastic bags of less than 50 microns thickness but it miserably failed to enforce its rules and the ban was largely restricted to random checking and nothing else.
“If the state government is actually committed to make Punjab clean, green and pollution free by walking on the path shown by our revered Gurus, it should first come up with a robust strategy that not only ensures effective implementation of the ban but also addresses the major challenges attached with single-use plastic use and its manufacturing,” they added. Talking to Jalandhar Tribune, MP Singh, president of NG0-Mission 6213 Punjab, said: “The annual report of the Central Pollution Control Board in 2019 recorded a staggering 143 times increase in the plastic waste generation in Punjab from 2014 to 2018. He said as per the report, 377.78 tonnes of plastic waste generated was in the state in 2014, which skyrocketed to 54,066 tonnes in 2018,” he said.
He said plastic waste has become a major environmental issue and if dedicated efforts to streamline its usage and manufacturing were not taken now, the situation would worsen and every living being will suffer.
Singh further added that plastic has not only polluted our water bodies, surroundings and other places, the particles of plastic has also entered into human blood and the day is not far when it would make its way into human organs, too.
Another activist Jagtar Singh said: “Almost all rivers, canals and ponds in the state are covered by plastic waste. Jalandhar Bist Doab Canal has turned into a garbage dump and heaps of plastic have been rotting there since ages. We all have to come together to address this issue as mere bans, policies and advisories won’t change anything. We must educate people about climate change and the reasons behind it,” he added.
He said be it social gatherings or government functions, the use of plastic cutlery and among other items is very common. “The government needs to develop a system right from the grassroot to ensure its effective enforcement. We the people have to support the government in this move only then the desired results would be visible,” he added.
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