The monster called — Plastic
Its the thing you carry water in.
Its the thing you brush your teeth with.
Its the material of which most of your everyday utilities are packed in.
All this and much more.
Sounds like an endorsement? Could be. It is true though. For centuries this thing has changed time and again, taken many forms, altered physically and chemically and has replaced many other materials such as wood, rubber, metals. Plastic has also made way for many more inventions, cost saving goods, created business opportunities, etc.
While all this has proven plastic as a economically sound invention, its not unknown that plastic is harmful. The dumping of plastic has created a bigger problem than proving to be a solution and played the role of a catalyst in other forms of pollution.
So. To solve the disease. Just like any other doctor would say ‘lets rip the virus off’ authorities around the world declared ‘BAN PLASTIC’
Great. Is it though?
Because plastic, in many forms, is such a bigger part of our everyday life that there are very few alternatives. Think of the things you read at the start of this article. How would you carry water if not for a plastic bottle? Somemight might say a bottle from home, very wise. That is an option but not quite the solution.
In the wake of protecting our environment we have totally forgotten a few things.
Not all item/uses of plastic are replaceable. Think about it. If you are someone to whom milk is available in plastic packets imagine how would you carry home the milk without the packet.
A vessel? Option, not a solution.
A bottle? Option, not a solution.
A tetrapack? Expensive option, not a solution.
This is just an example. Plastic has become so much bigger in our lives it is hard to think of a way to replace it. Sure there are alternatives. And as a responsible citizen of the earth I support their use. Paper bags being one of them.
Since its invention plastic has led to many business opportunities and banning it in one go will mean shutting down the many industries. The effect of this on the economy is a different discussion on its own. The absense of alternatives makes it worse.
All this while, we have so much against plastic that we have forgotten the smaller effects that contribute to the larger picture. We have ruled out even the thought that there could exist an alternative way to solve this issue.
To the relief of all those worried by now there have been smarter people who have come up with solutions.
Some use of plastic do have alternatives like paper bags.
There are other instances where corporations have reduced the use of plastic. To give a general example cellphone manufacturers replacing the data cable and battery charger with a single cable.
The smartest of the lot have opted for re-using and re-cycling plastic. This isnt something new. Everyone knows about re-cycling. Unfortunately some of our governments do not. To them banning plastic seems to be the only way to solve the problem.
Governments have turned a blind eye to re-cycling. Think of all the problem this could solve. Especially in country like India where our roads are more flooded with waste than vehicles.
Not only will recycling bring down the waste deposits but also reduce the plastic production. Some smart and creative engineers (engineers by thoughts and not degrees) have designed machines that can be set-up in your garage to re-cycle, re-design and re-use old plastic. Re-cycling is a costly affair. But it is something that we currently require.