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Plastic Waste: A Result of Not Saying ‘THANK YOU’ to Plastics!
Thank you is a powerful word. In India, we have known its importance since ages. Have you noticed that we distribute sweets and gifts to all after a marriage or other ceremony? After we distribute gifts, we join our hands to silently pay respect to those who are important for us. We give these gifts and sweets to all friends, relatives and finally to our servants, drivers, maids, cooks, sweepers etc. Why? It is just a nice way to say thanks to them for being a part of the function. These traditions are there for ages, and the whole system is working virtually trouble free. Saying thanks is not always a verbal approach. Many a time, we say thanks by helping them by joining them in their work, by praising them in our hearts, if not publically. Sometimes, there is another way of saying Thanks- Making their job simpler and easier.
During the past couple of decades, plastics have started becoming a part of our lives. We have become addicted to a one-time use of plastics, in other words, use and throw which has irreversible damage to the environment. Studies suggest that half of the plastics produced are meant for single use only. It has become a serious reason for worry because it is estimated that 60% of the 8.3 billion tonnes plastic produced since the 1950s has either been used as landfill or fed to the environment.
Life without Plastic?
No respect, no love, no thankfulness is included in the whole act. You buy milk packed in plastic pouches; edible oils in plastic pouches or plastic bottles; many medicines, utensils, daily use items, and this and that all come in packed in plastics. As a result, now the plastic after the use is emerging as waste and started acting like a menace. Many people are suggesting to get rid of plastics now. Can you imagine a life without plastics? No. To avoid plastic the most commonly suggested way is to stop using polythene carry bags only. Other forms of plastics are allowed. Can this be a proper way to reduce plastic related problems?
On a second thought, the plastic waste started becoming a problem as we did not say ‘thanks’ to plastic in a proper way. For our ease, for packing of our products, for the safety of our foodstuff, to avoid wastage of our documents and other items, plastics had been used extensively, and we did not say ‘thank you’. Can we say ‘Thanks’ to plastics?
Beat Plastic Pollution
Saying thanks to plastics looks funny. And how can you do it? Make a simple trial. Next time when you use vegetable cooking oil packed in plastics, or milk pouch or snacks packet, or sweets, or spices, or gram flour, or bread, or new clothing, or shaving razor, or shampoo pouch or whatever is possible; don’t just throw away the pouch as it is. Take that pouch in your hands, in your heart, say thanks for making the product journey from supplier to you safe. Now, gently spread it on a flat surface- to remove its wrinkles. Fold it if necessary. Take a container of adequate size, and place it there- gently. Day by day, you’d be adding more and more plastic pouches in the container. After a fortnight or a month, the container shall be having a mix of several different pouches of plastics. Now, make a bundle of these.
Have you noticed working of rag pickers in your area? Many of you may dislike them. Do you know they collect empty plastic pouches, sell them to recyclers and earn their bread and butter? Think about them with love because they are doing something that makes the world a cleaner place to live. Think of giving them a gift, a small gift that makes them happy, something that brings a smile on their faces. May I suggest a gift for them? Instead of throwing away your collected plastic bundle along with your household waste, put it at a place where you have seen rag pickers searching for plastic waste. Next time, when they come there, in place of an empty pouch, a bigger bundle will make them happy. It will reduce their efforts in collecting their daily target, and simultaneously help you in reducing your contribution to plastic pollution. Remember, if a rag picker can collect more plastic in a day, his life would be somewhat better; the plastic recycling industry would increase slowly as the recyclers would start getting more raw materials. Compared to an empty plastic pouch, ‘your’ bundle will not be blown away with the wind, so you may see less and less empty pouches lying here and there.
I am not asking you to throw a farewell party to old pouches as you throw for a colleague after his or her retirement. Whenever you use plastics, just dispose of these wisely, with love and with thanks.
Would you like to say ‘THANKS’ to plastics this way? If yes, please do share it with others also.
A nice way to thank plastics for making our lives better, by supporting the plastic chain to complete its whole cycle could result in a reduction of plastic waste related problems. Think. Thank.
This blog intentionally contains no images. Neither of a waste poly bag or plastic pouch, neither for a bundle prepared from several waste poly pouches. Please give yourself some time to think, create images in your mind, and start collecting generated waste to create your own images.