We’ve Got You Covered: How To Deal With the Delhi NCR Plastic Ban

We’ve Got You Covered: How To Deal With the Delhi NCR Plastic Ban

Environment

This year began on an eco-friendly note as the government’s ban on disposable plastics came into effect. The National Green Tribunal’s decision applies to plastic bags and plastic cups, and aims to tackle the massive environmental damage caused by plastic.

Of course, making a law is one thing. Implementing it is a whole different challenge.

Though the bench said vendors and slaughter houses found dumping waste in public places would be fined Rs 10,000, enforcing the ban on smaller scale vendors won’t be so easy. And not everyone is willing to look at alternatives.

But why wait for the government to figure out how to implement its ban? Plastic is one of the worst pollutants in the world. It clogs up rivers and oceans, and it kills more than 1 million sea birds, and 100,000 whales, sharks, seals, dolphins and turtles every single year.

And plastic bags are everywhere. For every square mile of the ocean, there are 46,000 pieces of plastic floating around, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

Both consumers and vendors can take reducing the damage cause by plastic into their own hands with more eco-friendly alternatives.

1. Cloth Bags

It’s pretty easy to pick up any sort of cloth bag that you can use to carry your veggies. (Photo: iStock)
It’s pretty easy to pick up any sort of cloth bag that you can use to carry your veggies. (Photo: iStock)

The best way to cut down the environmental impact of getting groceries is by reusing the same bag every time you go out to the market. Grab a cloth bag for as little as Rs. 20, and you won’t need to pick up plastic bags ever again.

2. Paper Bags

(Photo: Nate Steiner/Flickr)
(Photo: Nate Steiner/Flickr)

Ok, so these aren’t the perfect option because trees are cut down to make paper bags. In fact, we’re not huge fans of paper bags because of the massive deforestation involved and making paper bags uses way more raw material than plastic.

But they don’t present the same choking hazard to birds and fish and paper breaks down when it’s thrown out. So paper bags won’t be as harmful to the oceans.

Still, remember, reusable bags will always be the best choice.

3. Biodegradable Plastic

An Indian company developed edible, biodegradable plastic. (Photo Courtesy: EnviGreen)
An Indian company developed edible, biodegradable plastic. (Photo Courtesy: EnviGreen)

Entrepreneurial minds are tackling the plastic bag problem in a different manner – by making plastic that disintegrates over time. Often, these bags are made with vegetable oils and extracts.

Indian company EnviGreen even developed an edible form, which they say won’t harm livestock that chews its way through our dumps. That way, we can prevent gruesome scenes like this:

The remains of this Laysan Albatross chick show the plastic ingested before death, including a bottle cap and lighter. (Photo: Forest & Kim Starr, US Geological Survey)
The remains of this Laysan Albatross chick show the plastic ingested before death, including a bottle cap and lighter. (Photo: Forest & Kim Starr, US Geological Survey)

Ultimately, as long as there is human consumption, there is no perfect way to undo the damage we’ve done to our planet. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make efforts to minimise our impact as much as we possibly can. Especially when these efforts don’t cause any major inconveniences to our lives.

(Participate in the second edition of The Quint's My Report Debate and win Rs 10,000. Write an essay on how to fix India and Pakistan's relationship. Submit now)

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