In the “Yaksha Prasna” episode of Mahabharata, the Yaksha, among other questions, asks Yudhishtira, “What is surprise (kim ascharyam)?”. The eldest Pandava replies, “In spite of seeing countless creatures going to the abode of Yama daily, people believe themselves to be permanent. What can be more surprising than this?” So is man’s ignorance with respect to plastic.
Despite being fully aware that plastic is non-biodegradable, pervasively polluting and lethal to foraging bovines and marine creatures, he is strangely fooling himself that it is indispensable to one's life and recycling will take care of the waste problem. First, the blame should go to our governments and their advisors for aping the West and blindly introducing plastic and encouraging big industries around it. What a shame that they couldn't foresee that once the plastic genie is out of the bottle, there is no going back? With only 25 per cent of the collected garbage being processed, how far can recycling help?
Let’s make a personal difference. Simple measures like using cloth carry bags, introducing metal containers for milk, water, shampoos, dish-wash, floor cleaners etc, apart from having plastic-free celebrations go a long way in curtailing the use of plastic.
Every morning while getting off the bed, we salute bhoo-maata before setting our foot on her, but immediately go and throw plastic on her. Pause and think. It's time to wage a war on plastic and walk our eco-spiritual talk.
C V Krishna Manoj