Our State Government (and yes, we do have such a functioning entity), has made a pronouncement. Effective February 24, (and that is one of two dates that our Government sets special store by, the other being December 5), next year, our State, it has said, will become plastic-free.
This is an era of pronouncements of this kind and so the Man from Madras Musings will take it with a lump of salt. After all, this is the same State Government that had earlier said that open defecation will be a thing of the past by some date that is now long past. The last elected Mayor we had (oh how long ago that was), had once declared that all toilets in hotels and wedding halls will be thrown open to the public so that they would not have to undergo the embarrassment of relieving themselves in the open. Not that the general public appears to consider this an embarrassment – MMM has seen many men relieving themselves in full public view, just a few steps away from a well-maintained pay-and-use toilet. Why pay for it when it can be done for free is the general attitude.
It is with those same sage announcements, all made with the best intentions but with no hope of ever being implemented that MMM would like to file the latest on plastics. There is absolutely no plan whatsoever on how to go about it. The leader has spoken, the followers have celebrated, the newspapers and media have reported on it and so let us move on. Until the next pronouncement that is.
Now just imagine today is February 24, 2019. You have set out to do your shopping, all filled with joy at the thought that you will soon be home with your purchases in those lovely crackling plastic bags that you could add to your collection, all of which will come in useful some day – you know to pack things or give something away or more simply, to tie your garbage in and throw out on to the street. You are suddenly told that you will not get any more bags and you need to bring your own. MMM can quite understand how you would feel. It is like the end of civilization as we knew it.
How will our political parties conduct public meetings without plastic bottles of water for our beloved leaders to slake their thirst even as they speak? Imagine a celebratory meeting for the banning of plastics and the leader on the dais reaches out to unscrew a bottle cap only to be met with a man carrying an earthenware pot and a steel glass. It somehow does not have the same effect does it?
February is still far off; let us hope the State Government
will stick to the date and start enforcing their decision.
A complete ban on plastics is possible but difficult and needs alternatives. Coming to think of it, even till a few decades back, we could manage perfectly without it but soon this polymer has taken over. We have come to use once and throw anywhere, without caring for tomorrow, leaving a horrible legacy for the future generations who will remember the post- independence era born in India citizens as the ones who not only destroyed environment but also gave the double whammy of endemic corruption and irreverence to anything good. The future generations will need to undertake a massive clean-up if climate change does not swallow them up and they will always be cursing us for it. Great legacy taking us to the pearly gates of heaven.
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