Environment

Pause the plastic pile-up

A gust of wind brought with it a tattered plastic cover. In front of my eyes in that by-lane in Mandaveli, a calf grabbed it with its teeth and chewed on it. It all happened too fast; I thought that the calf would know plastic from the hay at its feet. But the way he casually ate it — as though it was a regular on his menu, was unsettling — clearly, the calf had eaten plastic before. Plastic is being ingested by animals, water bodies, and soil the world over. And it’s us, humans, who are to be blamed.

Arun Krishnamurthy, founder, Environmentalist Foundation of India, says that he realised how big the problem was when his team cleaned-up Mudichur Lake. “We cleared garbage from the Seekana eri in the area in 2014. The area used to have a dumpyard, in the past. But three years and three monsoons later, the water still had strains of garbage,” says Krishnamurthy.

This shows the extent of danger plastic poses. “It is not just about what’s found on ground,” he says, “It is much deeper.”

Krishnamurthy says that there’s plastic underground and in our groundwater. “Leachate, a concoction of sewage that collects on accumulated plastic, battery oil, the residue of burnt plastic, and such, penetrates our groundwater and creates enormous ruckus,” he warns.

Plastics from our water bodies should be removed on a “war-footing”. He feels that the Government should introduce policies that will deal with the situation.

“The Tamil Nadu Government’s proposal to ban plastic is a small step towards this, and is definitely a positive thing,” he adds.

The reason so much plastic is dumped into our oceans and rivers, feels Siddharth Hande, the CEO of Kabadiwalla Connect, is that being a low-weight, high-volume material, they are simply thrown away, instead of being collected, as is the case with say, old newspapers and glass bottles.

Hande hopes that the Government supports smaller recyclers and aggregators. “The right economic inventory should be brought in place,” he says.

“They should develop the infrastructure for the people who collect waste in the informal sector,” he feels, “They are the primary collection vehicle of plastic.”

Oripol Industries, Balasore

Based in Odisha, Oripol produces non-woven shopping bags in bulk as well as small quantities. The bags — available in a wide range of colours and sizes — are meant to replace plastic bags in the near future. They are available on all leading shopping portals like Amazon.in and Flipkart. Prices are available online and on inquiry. Email: sales@oripol.net; 8594999724/7

EnviGreen, Bengaluru

Utilising green technology, EnviGreen is a company that makes 100% organic, bio-degradable and eco-friendly alternatives to plastic and trash bags, packaging films, and more. Save the planet, but do so with the help of cutting-edge technology. Prices available on inquiry. Email: sales@envigreen.in

Biogreen, Bengaluru

Take a breather from all the cloth, canvas and jute, and try bio-bags. They’re made from a plastic-like material, that is 100% biodegradable and consist of natural starch, vegetable oils and the like. They come in many sizes, and bulk purchases are available. Price on request. Email: info@biogreenbags.com; 9980675668

Biogreen, Bengaluru

Take a breather from all the cloth, canvas and jute, and try bio-bags. They’re made from a plastic-like material, that is 100% biodegradable and consist of natural starch, vegetable oils and the like. They come in many sizes, and bulk purchases are available. Price on request. Email: info@biogreenbags.com; 9980675668

Eco Corner, Mumbai

Just because you got the eco-friendly route, doesn’t mean you’re saddled with something unsightly. Eco Corner is committed to developing products that are sustainable, as well as aesthetically pleasing. Among the many bright options available, they also have alternatives for plastic bags, that are 100% cotton and biodegradable, ranging between ₹499 and ₹699; Ph: 022 24979331

(With inputs from Karan Sethna)


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 12:03:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/pause-the-plastic-pile-up/article24310834.ece