Ecologist says sustained campaign to create awareness essential

The proposed ban and boycott on plastic carry bags in the city can be a good idea, but requires proper groundwork and a sustained campaign to ensure its success, feels ecologist S. Faizi.

Reacting to the concept mooted by political parties, proposing to implement the ban and boycott with government support, Mr. Faizi said the plastic ban issue was a complex one and to have it enforced overnight, though not impossible, would require preparations, including creation of awareness among the public and more importantly, ensuring availability of alternatives.

“As long as there is production of plastic carry bags, they are bound to be sold. So that part should be dealt with and at the same time, production of alternatives such as jute bags or paper bags, whichever are found suitable, should be promoted,” he said.

Stressing on the need for a sustained campaign to see that the plastic carry bag era had curtains firmly pulled down on it, Mr. Faizi said the use of recycled material and other alternatives should be well thought out.

There were projects launched in the city some time ago to produce carry bags from organic waste and there were small-scale cottage industries that were engaged in manufacturing of alternatives such as paper bags. These should be nurtured and promoted, he said.

“There was a time when in ration shops, they used newspaper to pack commodities. Such systems should be brought back,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Faizi pointed out one fact which he felt was being ignored and should get the same or even more attention than the ban on plastic.

“Every morning and evening in the city, we see small fires burning on the sides of the roads, in small open spaces in colonies and literally everywhere with people resorting to burning of garbage, mostly in plastic bags, because they have no other go. The issue here is, burning plastic emits dioxin, which is highly carcinogenic. We might not feel the impact immediately, but maybe in five years and that is going to show through the number of cancer patients though doctors then are not going to able to pinpoint the reasons. Something has to be done about this as well,” he said.

“A total ban on plastic might be difficult, but not impossible and is certainly a welcome move, provided it is carried out in the right earnest,” he said.