Plastic menace: A homemaker’s point of view

[ Karyir Riba ]
Plastic is one of the biggest threats our planet is facing today. They can be found everywhere, from the highest of the peaks to the deepest of the oceans. They lie everywhere, deteriorating the health of planet Earth each passing day. The problem is known, the solution seems nowhere close.
Whenever concern about plastic pollution arises, the so-called, faceless ‘solution finders’ come up with a very smart tag – “Say no to plastic bags”. Is that enough? Is merely banning plastic bags really going to stop the plastic menace the world is facing today? The answer to this question may vary.
Banning plastic bags is simply one of the ways to stop plastic pollution. However, it might not constitute even 1% of the contribution towards the fight against plastic.
Just a simple exercise can open your eyes and give you a broader picture of this humongous threat to the sanctity of the planet that we very lovingly call Mother Earth. Go ahead and open the door to your refrigerator. What do you see? The milk carton that comes in a tetra pack; the chocolate that comes wrapped in its decorative plastic packet; the juice that
you love so much that comes in a plastic bottle or a tetra pack again. The list can simply go on and on.
Another eye opener is the dustbin or waste-bin in your house. Take some time out of your busy schedules and take a peek into it at the end of the day. You will find empty packets of chips/crisps, chocolates, juice boxes, the packets in which your pulses come into your house, toffee/candy wrappers, your child’s favourite ice-cream – all of these come packed in their overtly decorated plastic containers or wrappers, proudly displaying the brands of the company they come from, staring right back at you.
Is this justified, banning the convenience of a grocer or a local vegetable seller to sell their produces in such packs? Banning the convenience of the shoppers to hold on to their purchases until they get back to the comfort of their homes? Ignoring the super big companies and allowing them to use as much plastic as possible to pack and market their products in? How justified is that?
As a simple homemaker coming from a small town, understanding the ‘politics’ behind this practice is very difficult. However, it is even harder to not understand why the government cannot put a strict ban on these big shot companies from using plastic as their main packaging material. If it is so easy for the government to impose demonetization overnight on a country of almost 2 billion people, it must also be possible to impose restrictions or bans on use of plastic wrappings on companies.
The other day, buying a snack for the children brought about a realization. The 10 rupees, very attractive pink coloured (plastic) packet of a sweet snack from ‘Bisk Farm’ had four sticks of the eatable contained in another transparent (plastic) tray inside the first (plastic) packet. It makes no sense to sell so much plastic for that amount. If the packaging was done a little simpler, may be the children could get six sticks of the snack instead of four, while there would be some plastic less going into the environment.
These companies need a lesson or two about the environment and how their acts are causing so much harm to it. Just to increase more shelf-life of their products and to increase their profits, they are completely neglecting the greater aspect of the problem we are all facing today.
Keeping aside the fact that the majority of the food items that we consume on a daily basis come packed in plastics, if we give it a closer look and look around our houses, we will find things made of plastic everywhere. The toys that our children play with, the containers in our kitchen, the decorative items, are some.
As concerned inhabitants of this beautiful planet, what we can all do is make intelligent purchases when it comes to plastics, until the governments world over decide to take a stricter action in curtailing plastic use by companies to sell their products. Recycling plants should be made mandatory, at least in the district headquarters.
At this point of time, these seem like distant dreams and wishful thinking. However, until then, as homemakers, we can play our part and come up with ways to use as little plastic as possible. Reuse, reduce and recycle are the three magical words.
We should reuse plastic bags if we can’t stop using them. We can stop buying snacks that come in unnecessary double/triple layers of plastic packaging. We can stop throwing our plastic waste here and there, and throw it in public waste-bins to be taken away to the landfills/garbage dumps, and keep our hopes alive that one day, we can recycle our plastic wastes, even in our small town, and save our planet from this plastic menace.