PLASTIC BAGS-The Hindu-06-08-2022

CONTEXT: Overuse of the bags was also resulting in littering and environmental pollution.
According to a report on Plastic Waste Management released by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the global average of plastic per capita consumption is 28 kg and India has a per capita plastic consumption of 11 kg. Dumping of plastic waste can deteriorate soil and underground water quality due to leaching of additives, colourants, stabilizers and fillers present in the different categories of plastic products.


The single-use plastic is believed to take thousands of years to decompose, which leads to soil and water contamination and can pose hazards for land, water and wildlife. In some cases, the existence of single use plastic in water or food is leading to the presence of plastics in the human body and health issues.
The littering of plastic is visually unattractive and has the potential to impact the gross domestic product (GDP) of countries dependent on tourism. The plastic pollution in oceans has an economic impact on tourism, shipping and fishing industries. Other than this sustainable plastic waste management can move plastic from ‘waste’ to a ‘renewable resource.’ Plastic pollution costs 13 billion dollars per year as economic damage to the marine ecosystem.
Instances of open burning of plastic waste lead to air pollution. In some developing countries, plastic is burnt for cooking or heating purposes causing health issues in vulnerable groups such as women, children and the elderly. The littering in open spaces such as parks leads to welfare losses which account for the indirect social cost of plastic pollution.

Recent Initiatives by the Government of India to get rid of Single Use Plastic (SUP)
1. Large-scale cleaning and plogging drives, with special emphasis on plastic waste collection, as well as large scale tree plantation drives, with the participation of all citizens – students, voluntary organisations, self-help groups, local NGOs/CSOs, NSS and NCC cadets, RWAs, market associations, corporate entities, etc
2. “Clean and Green campaign” via man ki Baat by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
3. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban 2.0, currently being implemented by MoHUA, plastic waste management, including elimination of SUP - is a crucial area of focus.
4. Under the Mission, every ULB is required to adopt 100% source segregation of waste, and have access to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) for sorting the dry waste (including plastic waste) into further fractions for recycling and/ or processing into value added products, thereby reducing to a minimum the amount of plastic and dry waste ending up in dumpsites or waterbodies.
5. ULBs will need to identify SUP ‘hotspots’ and eliminate them, while parallelly leveraging the support of State Pollution Control Boards and forming special enforcement squads, conducting surprise inspections and imposing heavy fines and penalties on defaulters, for enforcing SUP bans.
6. Plastic waste has emerged as a threat in recent years and needs different models for sustainable PWM. The adoption of a circular economy in PWM will not only support the sustainable utilization of natural resources but will also give a boost to the Indian economy.
Plastic bags have become the main cause of land pollution today. The plastic bags entering into the water bodies are a major cause of water pollution. Hence we can conclude that these are deteriorating our environment in every possible way.

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