Today was the first day of the ban on plastic packaging in Maharashtra, India. But it was disappointing to see how the media covered the ban on the first day. The coverage in the Times of India was mostly negative, both in the Mumbai and Pune editions. On the other hand, Sakal, a reputed Marathi newspaper talked about “awakening.” That was encouraging. But the Times of India seemed oblivious to the harmful effects of plastic.
I should not have used the word disappointing. I should have used the words shocking and disgusting. Why should any newspaper sensationalise and provoke the public on such an important topic?
If using plastic products and thermocol will now attract a fine, it is a good thing; it will help save the environment. And if people and vendors who defy the ban and refuse to pay the fine, go to jail, it’s a great thing! If some businesses suffer, yes, that is sad, but there is no choice. The most enterprising business people will do something else. This is a question of public health, and the environment.
Luckily, the way it is now, the majority of the people want this. They have common sense, even if a certain section of the media doesn’t. Lord knows what will happen if stupid and short sighted media articles influence the people. Maharashtra has always been a leading state, be in propagating women’s rights or in industry, and it is about time this state maintained its progressive outlook.
Some states are half way there, like in Orissa, where there is a total ban in the use of plastic carry bags, West Bengal where plastic bags are banned in religious and historical places, in Gujarat were there is a total ban of plastic products in Gandhi Nagar, and Kerala where there is a complete ban on plastic carry bags, in a few towns in the pilgrimage season. And last but not the least is Goa, where there is a partial ban on a wide variety of plastic products like cutlery, plates, and bags.
I am lucky enough to have lived 40 years ago. When I was a teenager, but we used to go to the market with cloth bags, and carried steel boxes when we went to buy meat and chicken. At least in Pune we did it that way. And now? People have been spoilt and made lazy because plastic has been allowed to proliferate. ‘
The Plastic Age must end! Littering our previous earth with plastic is a crime against the environment, and against nature. Thank god, our laws are recognizing it. What a pity that a certain section of the media doesn’t care. It’s criminal.
Let us pray that we don’t turn our country into a garbage dump…let’s end the plastic era in our lifetime.