The littered single-use plastic items have adverse effects on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems across the world.
According to Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, there is prohibition on the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of plastic carry bags whose thickness is less than 75 microns.
It is important to note that the ban will succeed only if all stakeholders participate earnestly and engage in effective engagement and concerted actions.
It is also to be noted that while the total ban on the use of plastic sounds a great idea, its feasibility seems difficult at this hour, especially in the absence of workable alternatives.
The administration long-back constituted an eight-member Special Task Force headed by the Chief Secretary for “elimination of Single Use Plastic and addressing the issue of plastic pollution” in Jammu and Kashmir. The administration has made some efforts but a lot more is needed as regards desired results regarding polythene carry bags and other single use plastic. The problems brought by it also remain unabated. There is already legislation that provides for penalizing users of banned plastic carrier bags as well as vendors dealing in them. While the onus was on the civic bodies to enforce the legislations, unfortunately the success in terms of compliance is far from adequate. The consequences of the lackadaisical approach by the authorities have meant that there is continuous use of the polythene and subsequent dumping of it in lanes, drains, roads, fields and water bodies. The waste is generated in tonnes every day and continues to cause a serious threat to the environment. The huge quantum of plastic waste remains unattended despite various directives and guidelines issued by the Government from time to time.
Abandoned to nature, the plastic lasts for centuries, breaking apart into ever smaller pieces but never assimilating into earth or water. The first challenge is to stop any more of this plastic from reaching the water bodies. Bigger landfills aren’t a lasting solution. They can contaminate surrounding water and soils.
It is undeniable that the plastic waste issue remains one of the pressing problems globally. But what is undeniable also is the fact that no genuine efforts have been made by many states in India as well as countries globally to deal with the problem.
It is hoped that the administration will also manage the problem scientifically and utilize best global practices in the management of plastic waste and adopt it accordingly.