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Menace of plastic

Menace of plastic

India's urban areas produce 62 million tonnes of solid waste per year which is expected to touch 165 million by 2030. Only 9 per cent of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. About 12 per cent burnt up, and the rest — 79 per cent — ends up in landfills, oceans and seas. Waste plastic is a commodity that needs to be managed and recycled on a priority basis so that something may be created out of them. The Central government has vowed to abolish all single-use plastics by 2022. Hopefully, by implementing more effective waste management policies, such as recycling, composting and developing biomethanation plants to generate electricity, India can avoid building more landfills in the future that have buried beneath them toxic chemicals draining out and seeping into groundwater flowing into the lakes and rivers. There are long-term risks of contamination of soils and groundwater by certain additives and breakdown by-products in plastics, which can become persistent organic pollutants. Plastic that goes into the oceans cause irreparable damage to marine life, even affecting fish species that are widely consumed throughout the world. There is actually no end to the plastic that we're using in our everyday lives, the list is practically endless. Cigarette butts — whose filters contain tiny plastic fibres — are the most common type of plastic waste found in the environment. There is an urgent need for genuine efforts on part of citizens and the administration alike to counter this growing menace. A few months back, the National Green Tribunal pulled up 25 states and Union Territories for not following its orders on submitting a plan regarding their compliance with the Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2016. The most effective manner to address this issue could be to implement practices that reduce waste on every level. Some smarter ways could include carrying a jute bag every time to the grocery store, having water in glass bottles, stopping use plastic food containers, lids, utensils and recycle plastic as much as possible. All stakeholders need to work together to make an impact. Cheap, feasible alternatives are a must. Regulations on extended producer responsibilities need to be strictly implemented. It is high time we decide what we want — a world that produces about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population or wake up to the smell of flowers and fresh air every morning.

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