The plastic problem, and some solutions

While govt. concentrates on plastic, its forms still dominate

Two years ago, Karnataka took a step to ban plastic, one of the largest solid waste products generated in the city. As one scourge is slowly dealt with, another has arisen: non-woven polypropylene bags. On Tuesday, the world observes World Environment Day, which has plastic pollution as its theme. On paper, the March 2016 ban is far-reaching: reducing the use of plastic in multiple household products, action against producers of plastic and even banning thermocol and microbeads. However, the implementation has been shoddy, as plastic covers continue to flood the market.

Mansoor Ghouse runs two dry waste collection centres in the city, and over the two years of the ban, plastic carry bags have reduced by over 15%. In its place, non-woven polypropylene bags, which are made from a thermoplastic polymer that is similarly non-biodegradable, have gone up in the waste collections.

“While getting any reduction in plastic usage is good, these non-woven polypropylene (NWPPs) bags have gone up by 15%. These are non-recyclable too and we end up sending them to factories that use them in their furnaces,” he said. Ramachandra, secretary of the Department of Forests, Ecology and Environment, admitted that NWPPs were found in plenty now.

“Fresh awareness campaigns are being planned to tell that public that these bags are plastic,” he said, adding that the committee formed to oversee the ban was constantly reviewing the provisions and actions to be taken to ensure a higher rate of compliance.

Lakshman, chairperson, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, said while the crackdown on plastic manufacturers had seen production come to a near halt, plastic and prohibited bags continued to pour in from across the borders.

“The board has not given any permission for NWPP production here. But the same issues we had in controlling plastic inflow from outside the State is seen with NWPP also. The committee (which is overseeing the ban on plastics in the state) has already informed Deputy Commissioners of border districts to tighten scrutiny at check-posts,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 7:27:14 PM |

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