Proud to Relinquish Plastic Bags


Proud to Relinquish Plastic Bags

And my madness has given me both freedom and safety. Freedom of being alone and safety from being understood, for those who understand us, enslave something in us” that’s something Khalil Gibran said long ago. Actually, purpose of quoting a great writer like him is to make easy to confess that I have gone mad. Seriously. Though, this madness has not given the pleasure of freedom as yet.

 

 

So, I have gone mad and have started avoiding plastic bags as far as possible. Sometimes carrying stuff like potato chips, cold drinks etc  in hand and walking calmly not caring about those staring eyes trying to say, “what kind of villager you are!” or may be, “such illiterate!”.

 

The chemical nature of plastic bags is such that they are non-biodegradable. So they are not decomposed nor disintegrated into their elements- a permanent source of pollution as soon as we throw them. Burning them is more dangerous than letting them stay for hundreds of years. Secondly, we do not have reprocessing facilities running which could decrease our concern. Though there are efforts at international level to introduce bags which are bio-degradable but that will take time (and for us a little more time).

 

 

Living in capital for years and seeing its beauty and cleanliness (with some exceptions) has started to take its toll. Now it feels like a crime to spoil its beauty or neatness. It seems easier to carry wrappers in pocket instead of throwing them on road until a dustbin is spotted.

 

Every time a plastic bag is avoided, it gives a sense of achievement thinking of those littered streets and sewerage systems of Pakistan. Initially to tell the shopkeeper, “shukria, shopper ki zarurat nhi” gave an impression that soon the earth will start shaking and the shop might fall or the other buyers might start laughing. But nothing like that has happened so far. Even a “tandoor wala” appreciated it when an offer for a bag was denied politely. Perhaps there are others too with same insanity.

 

Let’s join hands with hope of clean Pakistan. Let’s start believing that we can do it. Let’s go mad!



A contributor for The News/Geo blogs

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  • M.Saeed

    To understand and appreciate our civic responsibilities, we need to be sufficiently educated first.

    A recent world-wide survey on “shopping-bags’ pollution” by an international organization had established that, at current rate, the entire root-zone of the world’s agriculture would become impregnable to grow crops before the end of this century!
    Normal life of a shopping-bag when buried in borrow-pits is more than 400 years. It is therefore necessary that we find and legally enforce use of Biodegradable (compo-stable) Plastic Bags to save this planet and its inhabitants.

    • Anonymous

      Dear I actually posted a lengthy reply yesterday but it was not published! Being expert on solid waste management I just wanted to say that plastic bags represent only 2% of waste dumped (by weight) and a factory in Lahore is recycling these for more than 10 years by now. Lastly in most of developed countries we are suing 100% biodegradable plastic bags now.

  • Muhammad Hammad

    Analogy gone bad :P

    Seems someone can afford to let loose terrorists to kill people who use Plastic
    Bags but can’t do without plastic Bags. Well I consider this “typical
    Non-serious effort” as a step towards educating people who really want to use
    these Bags.

    Let me put a few things to make it clear why plastic bags should not be used
    or if used then with a lot of care:

    1- ) Not only does the production of plastic bags require millions of gallons
    of petroleum, their unregulated disposal by burning releases lethal toxins
    causing air pollution and related health issues. Stephanie Barger, executive
    director of Earth Resource Foundation said “We are extracting and
    destroying the Earth to use a plastic bag for 10 minutes.”

    2- ) They create litter-Aside from polluting beaches and waterways, plastic
    bags blowing around streets in China and are so common that they’ve earned the
    name “white pollution.”

    3- ) Carrying edible goods in plastic bags — which is a common practice in our
    country — is also hazardous because of the components of plastic bags.

    4- ) Plastic bags pose a serious danger to birds and marine mammals, several
    thousands of which die each year, after swallowing discarded plastic bags.

    5- ) the bags also choke up sewage and drainage systems, further aggravating
    our sanitation management challenges.

    6- ) The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a study in
    2004 which estimated 55 billion plastic bags were being produced and used
    annually, and projected that plastic bag usage would reach 112 billion by 2015.

    7- ) these Bags have already rendered thousands of acres of land unfit for
    Plantation.

    Keeping these hazards in mind, we can do a few things:

    1- USE BIODEGRADABLE BAGS – yes someone above thinks we
    are using Biodegradable Bags. let me tell you that Government of Pakistan
    carried out a survey for calculating the percentage of these Biodegradable Bags
    being used in the country. Results were not surprising as the report could only
    name a few large departmental stores like Metro Cash & Carry and
    international food chains like KFC and McDonald’s and other major brands,
    including Dawn Bread, Hyper Star, a Sazgar,
    and ICI Polyester switched to using biodegradable plastic bags. Whether other
    big and smaller businesses and industries will follow suit, and stick to this
    resolve, remains to be seen. Bottom line is that a very small percentage of Bio
    Bags are being used.

    2- USE SAME OLD BAGS OR BIO DEGRADABLE BAGS BUT MAKE SURE
    NOT TO THROW THEM IN STREETS OR IN SEWERS AND GUTTERS – Obviously this will
    take a while to educate people especially in our country, probably a decade
    before everyone will become as much sensible as someone above was J.

    3- RECYCLE PLASTIC BAGS – Another solution that has
    already being suggested and supported earlier by someone. But the problem is
    that 100 factories are producing Plastic Bags but only a few (5 or 6) are recycling
    them (keeping in view that If 1000 bags are used only 10% are returned to these
    recycling factories.)

    4- STOP USING PLASTIC BAGS – This is probably the quickest
    solution to the issue as suggested by the author. Obviously if we keep waiting for
    our Government to 100% replace these Toxic and hazardous Plastic bags with
    Biodegradable Bags or for 180 million people to get educated and civilized so
    much to use Plastic Bags with care, it will take another generation to be the
    lucky one not to find such an issue :)

    Concluding with a happy feeling as I am honored to resolve that I try not to
    use plastic bag as much as I can. And I am hopeful that the chain will go on :) .
    While Applauding the effort I want to make a Suggestion to the Author: keep enjoying CHIPS and JUICE but without a Plastic Bag :)

  • Anonymous

    Sugar Plastic might be a good alternative… just google at Aljazeera web site