Ban on plastic to be reality soon in State

Ban on plastic to be reality soon in State

This city generates about 225 tonnes of plastic waste every day. That is a mountain by any standard, as the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) tells us.

Posing an enormous environmental hazard, besides adding to the already taxing garbage woes of the City, the mega plastic problem demands scientific responses.

But the scientific part has been clearly missing, although now there is a silver lining: After months of dithering, a complete ban on plastic less than 40-microns thickness is now on the horizon.

Implementing the ban is bound to be tough. Plastic use has become an integral part of our daily life, pervading almost every sector. However dependent we have become on plastic products, yet there is no getting away from their potential to create environmental hazards, thanks to their non-biodegradable nature. The careless disposal of plastic waste has become a matter of concern. Plastic waste chokes drains, causes loss in porosity of soil and prevents percolation of water into soil.

The City’s recent battle with thousands of tonnes of uncleared garbage could have been tackled better had the civic agencies managed non-biodegradable plastic waste in a scientific manner. Years of unscientific disposal of waste has affected not only humans, but also animals. Several incidents of animals such as cattle and dogs suffering after accidentally consuming plastic waste have been reported frequently. Even a Russell’s viper, which was recently found to have swallowed huge amounts of plastic waste, was rescued and rehabilitated by an animal rights organisation.

“It is not that there are no laws to prevent indiscriminate dumping and disposal of waste. It is only the implementation which has taken a back seat. Our thrust should be on the implementation of rules,” notes Dr Nandini, professor, the Department of Environment Sciences, Bangalore University.

There have been rules in the past. The Plastic (Manufacturing and Usage Rules) 1999, had clearly advocated a ban on the use of plastic bags less than 20-microns thickness. Following a ban on the use of such bags in 2003, a major drive was initiated by the KSPCB as well as the State government.

Despite several awareness programmes, the use of plastic, however, continued unabated until the government resolved to ban the use of plastic below 40-microns thickness in 2009. The KSPCB was made the implementing authority to prevent the use of plastic less than 40 microns.