Why do we need a Plastic ban in Uttar Pradesh?
With lakes frothing up, oceans filling up with garbage and rising global temperatures, it won’t be wrong to say that we are on the brink of an environmental disaster and it is us humans, who are to be blamed. Our carelessness and disregard for the planet has brought us to a time where 20 major Indian cities are said to run out water by 2020. One of the major threats to the environment is plastic and more than the material itself, it is our misuse and mismanagement that has led to so much degradation. As the awareness of the adverse effects of plastic rises, many have started adopting eco-friendly solutions but a lot is still left to be desired. We need the plastic ban – the sooner the better.
Taking a cue from the government of Maharashtra, the UP government has imposed a blanket ban on plastic items in the city that has gone into effect from 15th July. This means no more plastic bags, cups, glasses, etc. While details regarding the new guidelines are still unclear, this will be the third plastic ban in the state since 2015.
The new rules are bound to cause discomfort but here we have some alternative solutions that can come in handy and make the transition smoother:
Carry your own shopping bags
Most of the supermarkets and big stores have already switched to cloth and paper bags but many shopkeepers, hawkers and especially vegetable vendors still use polythene bags for packaging. To curb this usage, carry your own bags, preferably cloth or jute, when going shopping for groceries and make it a point to always keep a few in your vehicles as well.
Reuse/Replace plastic water bottles
Not just for the environment, plastic bottles are harmful for our health as well. Certain plastics contain chemicals which can cause serious health impacts and it is best to replace them with glass bottles. While travelling, avoid buying bottled water and carry your own in steel ones.
This will be easier on your pocket and the environment. And in case you need a refill, there are water vending machines (often labelled as Water ATMs). You can find these drinking water dispensers at Charbagh Railway Station and Qaiserbagh Bus Station that dispense a litre of water at just Rs.5.
Ditch the straws
Let’s be honest, straws are pretty much useless and most of us use them only because they come as a part of the packaging. While this may seem inconsequential but straws also contribute a lot to the plastic waste. So, next time you are eating out and unless you really need one, avoid using them.
Solution for takeaways
The eating out and takeaway culture has picked up pace in the last few years in Lucknow with so many restaurants and cafes mushrooming in the city. But this has also contributed to the growth of plastic waste. The containers used for packaging are hardly sustainable but they are still good enough to last for a few uses so it would be a good idea to reuse them.
If you are up for it, you may even carry your own boxes while getting takeaway.
Like plastic containers, plastic cutlery bundled with the packaging also often goes to waste. When placing your order you can ask the restaurants to skip the cutlery when ordering food for home or unless you actually need it.
Recycle household items
Common household and consumer items leave behind plastic packaging such as bottles and packets. If re-using them is not an option, instead of simply throwing them away in the trash contact groups and organisations involved in collection and recycling operations to ensure proper disposal.
The successful implementation of the plastic ban rests on us more than the authorities and these small steps which may seem unimportant now will go a long in protecting the environment. Lucknow Pulse is committed towards a greener tomorrow and encourages everyone to switch to sustainable alternatives.