Banning single-use plastic is a long way off, AU professor tells The New Indian Express

Express Message Service

VISAKHAPATNAM: Considering the convenience plastic offers, there is little chance for governments or organizations to ban it, said Professor Bala Prasad of Andhra University, adding that people would not allow such a move. He explained that there are several ways to regulate the use of plastic, stressing that banning is one of the most efficient ways to do so. Last year, the center announced a nationwide ban on single-use plastics from July 1, 2022. Recently, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) announced the list of prohibited items.

On June 5, the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) banned single-use plastic in the city. Prasad, who is also an environmentalist, said: “If it comes to a plastic bag, if you think about the environment, use it twice or more.” Claiming that most of us can’t even remember when we Didn’t use a plastic bag last time, the professor pointed out that single-use plastic bags are very convenient for consumers, but pose a threat to the environment and human health.

Bala Prasad explained why plastic ends up in the oceans, soil and everywhere else: “Because the plastic bags are extremely light, they fly from one place to another. “Therefore, it is our duty to dispose of them properly in bins rather than throwing them away indiscriminately.” Acknowledging that the ban on plastic bags is a good start, the environmentalist believed that banning bottles, cups, straws and cutlery would be difficult to sell.

He went on to say: “Dairy farms are the largest producers of plastic today. But we don’t see an alternative to replacing plastic packaging. So we should dispose of them responsibly. Many dairy farms recycle the used plastic packaging, taking into account its harmful effects. If we consider spending a little time taking care of such things, we can definitely control plastic pollution. If we can store a stack of papers for months, use them for various household chores, and sell them to vendors, why can’t we do the same thing with plastic items? We don’t need to dump plastic indiscriminately in public areas.”

He praised the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) and said that it is a smart and environmentally friendly move to lay roads out of plastic waste in different parts of the city, putting the non-biodegradable plastic waste to good use. Noting that not much is known about microplastics and their effects, the professor explained that plastics are not biodegradable and instead slowly break down into smaller pieces called microplastics. “Most of it eventually ends up in the food chain and shows up in animals big and small.”

On the other hand, Bala Prasad said that the plastic has revolutionized the field of medicine with life-saving devices, enabled space travel, reduced the weight of cars and jets, saved fuel and pollution, and saved lives with helmets, incubators and equipment for clean drinking water. “We cannot eradicate plastic from our lives and from the planet. But we can help ourselves by avoiding the unnecessary use of single-use plastic. It will reduce the carbon footprint,” concluded Bala Prasad.

CPCB Prohibited Items

Earplugs, balloon sticks, candy and ice cream sticks, cutlery: plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, trays, candy boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packs, PVC banners under 100 microns, styrofoam for decoration

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