Although the Delhi Government has, on numerous occasions, notified shopkeepers and vendors against using plastic bags, things are only now being taken seriously. The law, however, naturally inconveniences me and fellow shoppers alike. This decision imposed on the common man is felt when one goes shopping for groceries and stationery–the shopkeeper politely refuses my request for a plastic carry bag.
Surely, there should be an alternative for polythene like paper bags or even bags made of cloth. But looking beyond bags, cosmetics; food items; and even drinking water is packaged using plastic. Why aren’t they banned? Milk comes in plastic pouches–is there an alternative to this? Previously it came in glass bottles. Perhaps we need to revert to that option!
Today, if you are to ask for a shopping bag in a supermarket you are handed a bag made of cloth and charged for it. The reasoning is that it is an environmentally friendlier option. However, as we have seen before the use of plastic cannot realistically be put an end to, at least for now–how else would you package biscuits or your weekly requirement of table salt? Yes, plastics are toxic and we have forever been using them but there is a way out of this. If you wish to help nature and reverse the harm that you’ve already done, consider doing the following:
Always carry with you a paper or a cloth bag even if you aren’t sure of using it; sell used plastic containers and packets to your local kabadiwala or instead, when throwing out your rubbish segregate the same and isolate the plastic in one container; and lastly, refuse to entertain polythene bags!
As for me, I am still trying to rid myself of the old habit. I love this city and cannot bear to see it suffering anymore. I hope you agree.
[Prajakta Shukla is a postgraduate student in the Department of Political Science. She can be reached via email at: prachi.jnu [at] gmail.com]