The challenging plastic ban law in India was pending for many years at the court and it didn’t seem to succeed. There were discussions about what was the reason behind it. It was a law, which was not implemented. Maybe there was no monitoring from the government side or maybe we, costumers didn’t care enough. In the end, there was no visible change.
To look from another side, it is actually pity that we need a law which ban plastic bags. It is very obvious that there are many good reasons of using plastic bags; but actually plastic has many extremely bad effects on the environment. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that at least 30 kilograms of plastic can be found from the stomach of every cow or buffalo which dies in India. Plastic bags take 1000 years to be decomposed. Only 1% of plastic bags are recycled, the rest finish in the landfills and oceans. It is estimated that 1 million birds, thousands of turtles and other sea animals die each year after ingesting discarded plastic bags. Plastic bags are made from petroleum oil. The amount of petroleum which is needed to produce 14 plastic bags is equal to the amount of petroleum which is needed to drive a car one mile. Yes, so many bad implications of the product which is usually used only once.
We are finally discovering the inconvenient truth about plastic bags. If you have already switched to reusable shopping bag than applaud yourself to be environmentally aware. If you are still using plastic bags, I want to highlight one simple point to you – the matter of plastic bags is the matter of our habits.
It is very simple. Plastic bags are very convenient. But if there will be no plastic bags at supermarkets and shops, you would simply bring your own one. The current system made as not to think about the bag itself, because it is always available in the spot. Interesting but alarm is the fact that plastic bags are extremely cheap and available everywhere, more than food and basic needs. If you have only 1 rupee you can buy a plastic bag, but you cannot buy food.
That doesn’t make any sense at all but it does make us think in what kind of world we live in.
There are supermarkets which are promoting paper bags instead of plastic ones. Also, they are trying to convince us that vegetable and fruit bags are bio-degradable. Unfortunately, they all have negative impacts on our environment – in the end they all finish as waste items.
To change this attitude you have to change one small habit – to always take a bag with you. A bag should be like your wallet and phone, which you always carry with you. In the beginning, I would suggest you reuse the plastic and paper bags which you already have. When you run out of them, do not get a new plastic one; instead get a reusable textile bag. Reusable bags are not only eco-friendly; they are also fashionable. It is hard to express your individuality with a plain plastic bag. Reusable bags typically come in a variety of colours; they can have imprinted message or logo and be personalized in the way you want. Reusable bags have multi use – you can use them for many different occasions, not only shopping. And overall, they are super easy to wash as well.
Online you can find many providers of reusable bags who will make the bag according to your wishes. It is one time investment. But if you are creative, you can make a perfect reusable bag at home as well. Here is a link which shows you one of many ways how you can make your own bag out of an old T –shirt.
Here is a small challenge for you – This week remember to take a bag with you when you go to buy vegetable, fruits, groceries or any other items. Simply carry a bag with you.
Slowly, carrying a bag will become a habit just like your wallet and your phone. It is enjoyable to use your own bag, designed in your own way and which is expressing you as a person.
It is such a small step for a man, but a giant leap for the environment and the mankind.
Member of Vatavaran team