Need for safe and proper disposal
We Asked: As use of plastic (masks, gloves etc) has grown manifolds during Covid-19, what steps should be taken by the mass and the administration to prevent plastic pollution?
When plastic resin was invented way back in the first decade of the 20th century and brought about a kind of revolution in commerce, no one had any idea the synthetic material would turn out to be the biggest polluter on earth by the end of the century. Over the years, it clogged drains, choked animals who mistook it for food and on account of being non bio-degradable, harmed the earth’s ecology and environment immensely, from mountains to plains and even the bottom of the sea, prompting governments to shunt it out and introduce eco-friendly substitutes. However, the ongoing corona virus pandemic has brought all efforts to oust plastic to a naught. Masks face shields, PPE kits, surgical gloves and many other such things used for protection against the deadly virus have tremendously increased the plastic burden on the earth worldwide. The food industry, particularly restaurants, is packaging their stuff in plastic and polythene to ward off infection. Needless to state, all this toxic material goes into the garbage. So what is to be done? As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), the toxic and non-biodegradable items can be easily replaced by other environment-friendly, recyclable materials like glass, ceramics, natural fibres, paper, cardboard, rice husk, natural rubber and animal proteins. Also there is need for safe and proper disposal of such medical waste. If possible, reusable masks should be used and people should go in for more handwashing than wearing gloves. Safe recycling should be undertaken where ever possible. Eateries should be told to pack food in packets of disposable material and customers ordering take-away food should be encouraged to carry their own take-away dish with them. Whether hand sanitisers or other things, ecologically sustainable packaging should be of paramount importance. Covid-19 is a massive global challenge. But so is the insurmountable problem of plastic waste which threatens to smother the world. It is time governments come out with a strategy to tackle this problem. Divya Pandey, social worker
Immediately, if we are asked this question, many of us who are nature lovers or are environmentalists by heart will say yes! Reason behind it is the guesswork about the origin of this virus is. Probability from Huanan seafood wholesale market (from an interaction between an animal and a human), Pangolins (most illegally traded mammal in the world), bats to human infection among the people processing bat carcasses in the production of Chinese medicines. Still, the accuracy of the origin story of corona virus seems vague. Here comes the answer as Mother Nature has given this earth for every species to survive and thrive. If we overdo anything, for example being a non-vegetarian we would like to eat each and everything present around us will surely hit us back. What should be our approach now? Time has come to analyse our actions globally. This pandemic has taught us that no money or power can save us from this. Only preventions can save lives worldwide. Sudden change in the behaviour e.g. frequent hand wash, wearing a mask while going out of the home, sanitizing hands, eating only home cooked food, increased intake of vegetable and fruits to boost up immunity has become new normal. For a good period, people have avoided non-vegetarian food etc. just because they were afraid of catching the virus. This fear can be continued to teach our younger generation to be somewhat disciplined with this live example and let them teach to live happily with the serenity of nature by enjoying and watching these beautiful creatures in place of serving them in their plates. Preeti M. Shah, social worker
Topic of the month: What would you prefer- an ecologically sensitive area be conserved in its natural state or converted into a tourist destination? You may send your views in 200 words at [email protected] Please also attach a colour photo of yourself.