By Life Positive April 2004 To think that about a quarter of a century back, India simply didn’t have plastic bags! And now the menace is everywhere, clogging drains and rivers, filling landfills, and washing up on sea shores. Recently, though, many states have taken the initiative to ban plastic or polybags. This long overdue legislation is welcomed by most, though it will take time for it to seep into the lifestyles of all those accustomed to the convenience of the ubiquitous plastic.Kavita Menon, a housewife, says, “I am extremely happy that a ban has finally been imposed on the use of polybags.”Polybags pose a major threat to the environment because they cannot be recycled. Hence, there is always a need to produce more and more. Since polybags are lightweight, they often choke the drainage. When an animal feeds on polybags lying in the dustbin, toxins are released into its body, harming the intestine, finally leading to death. Because plastic is non-biodegradable, it breaks down into tiny toxic particles when dumped, leaching into the soil and ultimately polluting it.With plastics out, here are some alternatives: Jute: Unlike plastic, jute is durable, renewable, and biodegradable, i.e. it does not deprive soil of its nutrients when discarded. Besides, climate- neutral jute bags are gaining popularity. Cloth: Cloth bags are certainly the best. Shares Ranjana Chitkara, Deputy Manager, Delhi Tourism, “I carry a cloth bag every time I go shopping. It is reusable, washable and easy to store.”Canvas: Canvas bags are strong, reliable and environment friendly. Paper bags: Kshitij Jain, Company Director, Suyash Papers Pvt Ltd says, “Eco-friendly paper is biodegradable as well as recyclable.”
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