Plastics bags are used widely in India and the inefficient disposal of the bags is the major challenge to the waste management in the country.
Almost all products in India, starting from candies to TV sets, come with a plastic wrapper and they are discarded immediately after the product is unwrapped. To make the matter worse Indian customers insist for plastic bags from shopkeepers and eateries to pack their purchased items no matter how small they are. Many people also don’t bother carrying their own bags or purchasing bio-degradable bags made from paper, jute, cloth, etc, as they know that the shopkeepers will not charge them for the plastic bag.
It is quite common to find big and small plastic bags and wrappers strewn on Indian roads and streets and one can occasionally find the large heap of waste containing mainly plastic bags and more plastic bags in dumping yards and secluded spots.
Apart from giving an unsightly appearance to the surroundings, plastic bags emit toxic gases and pollute environment when burnt. These discarded bags also find their ways to the mouths and stomachs of stray or domesticated cattle and other livestock when they mistake them for food and end up ingesting them. Plastic bags are responsible for deaths and painful conditions of many stray cattle.
Plastic bags are more harmful than the plastic bottles because plastic bags are cheap and are used and thrown away more freely than the bottles or containers. Many Indians tend to keep plastic bottles and containers with them for future use while they just throw the plastic bag away after unwrapping the contents from the bags. Moreover, plastic bags cannot be recycled or reused like the plastic bottles or containers.
Unlike other waste products, plastic bags cannot be incinerated without emitting poisonous gases that takes a huge toll on the environment and the health of people.
Plastic bags should be banned in India due to these reasons:
- They end up lying on the streets after its use is over
Plastic bags are inexpensive to manufacture and very cheap to procure even by the smalltime shop owners. When the plastic bags are given to customers without any charge and with such offhandedness, they are thrown away and they end up lying on streets. These give a very bad image to the country.
- They are not bio-degradable
Being photolysis resistant, that is the breaking down into finer particles due to the effect of photons of sun rays, plastic is not bio-degradable. Plastic needs million of years to naturally degrade in the environment. The plastic bags littering in the nook and cranny of every towns, cities, and villages of these country will remain such till eternity unless they are picked up and taken to a place for efficient disposal, which brings us to the next point.
- They cannot be disposed efficiently
Even after collecting every single piece of the plastic bags from each and every streets, plastic bags cannot be disposed efficiently. They cannot be thrown into the sea, incinerated, or put to other use without harming the environment. Even though it was regarded as one of the most useful inventions a few years back, it is now viewed as the biggest bane for environment.
- They affect the health of stray animals, wildlife, and marine life
When the plastic bags are thrown on the streets, picnic spots, tourist destinations, or into the water bodies they are mistakenly ingested by stray animals, wild creatures, and aquatic animals. Besides harming humans, plastic bags also pose a huge threat to the animal species also.
- They compromise the quality of food and beverages
Most of the plastic bags, which are available cheaply, are made up of inferior quality of synthetic materials. When they are packed with hot food and beverages, they contaminate and compromise the quality of the foods and drinks.