We, the people of India, have been appealed to curtail use of plastic to help save our environment from its ill effects in our day to day life. The laudable initiative has been made by the Prime Minister of India in the larger interest of the humanity and sought cooperation from the people of India to start movement by avoiding use of single use plastic items in our daily life. It is an accepted fact that the use of plastic proved detrimental for environment, but on the contrary it has entered into every sphere of our life. It is also anticipated that the use of one time use items of plastic may be banned on 02 Oct 2019 as a mark of respect to our Father of Nation on his birthday. We all stand for this noble cause and assure to make it mass movement to lay healthy foundation for our future. It is however felt that the issue needs to be studied for its social, environmental and economic impacts. As regards the data involved in use of plastic world over, the Indian average use per person is lowest as 11 Kgs against 28 Kgs per person per annum internationally and the industry provides jobs directly and indirectly to around 3.5 crore people across India. It is also incumbent on the part of government machinery to work out alternate for plastic as it would obstruct business of not only directly involved industries but also all business units including small street shops. We need to categorically spell out items that would be taken in first phase as even medicines are packed in plastic mixed material, common medical items like syringes are also manufactured with such material and a blanket ban on all these onetime use items would disturb the entire system creating public panic. Another important aspect is to provide alternate employment to a large work force and use of the specific machinery involved in the industry that would cause a heavy capital cost. It may therefore add on to unemployment and low industrial output for some time.
It is therefore suggested to make national commitment to shed the use of plastic in phased manner on the birthday ceremony of Mahatma Gandhi and simultaneously appoint a committee of experts to study the issue in its entirety and suggest multipronged approach to uproot the use of plastic once for all in time bound manner at highest level of PMO besides launching a public information campaign to attract mass participation as the Father of Nation believed in Jan Andolan and not Jan Bandhan.
WgCdr (Retd) Mahesh Chander Sudan