- By Harshad Tulpule
Few days ago, our beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to eradicate single use plastic from our nation, attributing the move to Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary. Indeed it's a welcoming move. Government is trying best from its side. However, a campaign becomes successful only when it gets mass public support. Hence today, 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, is the day to think how l, as a common citizen, can be a part of this campaign, and start action.
Mahatma Gandhi didn't only give messages of cleanliness but he was a devine person who 'lived' cleanliness. Despite being an internationally recognized national leader, he cleaned toilets, lifted garbage. Today, one might not be able to actually go outside and clean the roads, but through the development of some good habits, everyone can prevent the 'creation' of garbage. That will be the real tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.
here is how our samll habbits can bring about a big change:
- Taking a cup and a plate with us while travelling:
Tea and snacks bring cheers in journey anywhere. Especially while travelling by railway, single use cups and plates are used for tea and breakfast. However, it is easily possible for us to take a durable metal cup and a plate in our bag while travelling by railway so that we can prevent garbage creation. 'Chaywala' in railway happily serves us in our own cup and as basin is available in Railways, it is easily possible to wash the cup or plate and put it in bag. This small habit can can bring about a big change.
'Parcel' culture has gained tremendous popularity today. In previous times, our mothers and sisters used to cook everything at home which naturally had kept the need of single use packing material significantly less. Today, culture has changed. Yesterday's 'housewife' has today become a well-educated, job-making careerist women, which is indeed a thing to welcome. However, it has fueled the fashion of bringing parcel food items which has necessitated extensive use of single use packing material. To a great extent we can overcome this problem by using tins for parcel. If hotel is nearby, we can easily take tins from our home. Many hotels have started giving returnable tins against deposit.
- Using durable waterbottle:
Thin plastic waterbattles is one of the biggest threat to environment. Even if we think of re-use them, they can't be reused for more than 2 or 3 times. Recycling cannot be the only solution because they are thrown scattered. Hence considering the cost of collection, recycling doesn't become feasible. Hence, from long term perspective, using durable waterbattle has no option.
- Always keep two cotton bags with you while going out:
When we go out for the purpose of shopping, we usually take cotton bags with us. However most of the times it happens that we go for some other purpose without taking cotton carrybag and wish to purchase something from the market. At such times, we have no option but to use plastic bag. In order to avoid such incidents it is wise to have two small cottonbags with us always while going out, irrespective of purpose. Vendors put the items in plastic carrybag very quickly. we must stop him immediately from doing so. Let's determine on the oçassion of Gandhi Jayanti that "l will not purchase any item from the market unless l have cotton carrybag.
- Use biodegradable material instead of worring about 'high price':
One cannot deny the fact that metals, although durable, are quite heavy to carry. Besides, mining and purification of metals pose big threat to environment. Hence we can't entirely replace the single use material by durable metals only. Biodegradable plates, cups and wrappers are available in the market today. Traditionally, use of Banana leaves has been quite common in India. Broad leaves of many trees such as Palas, Aamni, Kumbha, Moh, were used for wrapping. Now-a-days, Eco friendly wrappers, plates, cups made up of leaves are available in cities too. Citizens should show interest in using them with a broad environmental perspective, instead of worrying about price.
- Do we really need to change our mobile handset after every six months?
Garbage doesn't mean plastic bags, wrappers and bottles only. Electronic waste is in fact several times more hazardous considering today's volume of consumption. Constant development of newer and newer versions of electronic items, and our lust to purchase it as soon as it arrives in the market is going to make our earth nothing but a dumping ground. It's a high time to introspect whether l am purchasing new mobile handset for need or fashion! It's not at all advisable to vociferously go on purchasing electronic things relying on recycling. We still don't have proper e-waste recycling system and it's not easy to create such system because of scattered consumption. Hence changing our consumption patterns has no option.