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Polythene bags-the global epidemic

Polythene bags.

The moment you hear this word, the first image that crosses your mind is the transparent, yellow, green and black coloured small polythene bags. Since the past two decades, these polythene bags have become a very important part of every desi household. From using them in our dustbins and wrapping sanitation pads in them to using the to protecting our books from rain and making them our storage bags, these polythene bags have come very far with us. So far, that now when humans have reached the top of Mount Everest and deep in the Marina Trench for the sole recreational purpose these, plastic bags are there too.

Wow, they really do have come so very far and in a huge quantity. According to FICCI 43 per cent of India’s plastics are packaging polythene bags and only 1 per cent of these polythene bags are recycled, adds Waste Management. These numbers are enough to show how many plastic bags are out here in India. These bags are everywhere. Believe it or not, if COVID-19 is a Global Pandemic than Polythene bags are a Global Epidemic.

The thing with plastic bags is that 80 per cent of them are made from single-use plastic. These plastics are non-biodegradable. Just one polythene bag takes 200 to 1000 years to degrade and even then it’s not completely decomposed, they photodegrade. Most of the plastic bags disposed of annually worldwide, don’t seem to be made out of organic matter, however square measure made up of crude oil or petroleum by-product that the microorganisms don’t acknowledge as food, hence making it completely non-biodegradable. So what happens is, given the right conditions the plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces due to sun’s ultraviolet rays which breaks the binds holding its molecular chain together. These smaller particles become microplastic. These small pieces easily enter the food chain when accidentally consumed by animals and fishes. We inhale microplastic, eat and drink microplastics these days.


While there are many objections to the banning of plastic bags they are still being used everywhere solely on their convenience. Later they get thrown away even after being reused because even though convenient they are not durable enough to stand up to numerous trips to the store. The drawback with this can be that when they have been soiled up they end up in the trash, that then finishes up within the lowland or burned. Either resolution is extremely poor for the atmosphere. Burning emits toxic gases that harm the atmosphere whereas the landfills hold them indefinitely which is another problem throughout the world. These plastic bags use certain chemicals like BPA which acts in the same way as oestrogen. In the long run, these chemicals may interfere with hormonal balance in women and affect reproduction. We, ourselves have been harming us with pure laziness as even we citizens litter these bags everywhere. This littering is not only unattractive but environmental hazard too as sometimes they seep into the soil and degrade the soil quality or harm the plants nearby. The litter gets carried away by the natural elements and sometimes is even dumped in forest and water bodie4s harming the wildlife. Do you know around 267 different species have been affected by this just in the ocean!

This situation may seem all sad and bad but it can be happy too and if not happy, then can be contained. There is a saying, “Better Late than Never” and if we start using sustainable methods now maybe the world will be on the right path for the future generations. All we got to do is Think Global and Act Local. Changes start from home so let’s follow the plastic ban by banning plastic bags ourselves. Let’s say no that shopkeeper when he gives us a plastic carry bag. Let’s give polythene bags for recycling along with all the newspapers and glass bottles. Let’s use sustainable bags like sustainable fashion bags, sustainable vegetable bags, jute bags, eco-friendly bags and so much more.

It’s high time we make the oh-so-convenient plastic bags inconvenient. Let’s say Bye Bye Plastic. 

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