Friday, 3 December, 2021

Beat plastic pollution

Plastic is commonly used in everyday life in many forms. Plastic products have become an important part in our day to day life. Certainly these products have made our life easier, but in the long run we may have to pay a heavy price due to increasing plastic waste and its devastating impact on the environment.

We can easily cite an example of water-logging in Dhaka city that brings immense sufferings to its residents. The city drains clogged with plastic wastes are to be blamed for the dismal situation. It happens as the city dwellers are accustomed to throwing plastic or polythene bags on the streets after using them for just a few minutes or hours.

Plastics usually do not rot or decompose in nature on their own. So, the bags thrown away carelessly on roads get into drains and underground sewers blocking them causing unbearable water-logging. Because of people's irresponsible behaviour, most of the canals and rivers flowing through the city are also filled with polythene and plastic waste causing environmental pollution. Even river dredging is also hampered due to plastic waste. Earlier, we learnt from newspaper reports that the capital dredging work in the Karnaphuli stopped due to a deep layer of polythene in the riverbed. Because of accumulation of plastic waste in the river, dredgers did not operate resulting in abrupt halt of the essential work. Experts have opined that dredging would be of no use in the long run if dumping of polythene in the river cannot be stopped. Imagine the gravity of pollution caused by plastic articles of everyday use!

However, plastic pollution is a global problem. The problem exists in rivers, oceans and water bodies worldwide. According to an assessment of the UN Environment Programme, plastic pollution in oceans and other bodies of water continues to grow sharply and could be more than double by 2030 which is alarming indeed. Elimination of all single-use plastic is essential to reverse the trend. Further pollution must end as plastic trash is not just litter; rather it is a climate change problem too. Awareness campaign is a must to make people aware about the harmful effects of plastic pollution. The government should immediately enforce the ban on use of polythene. It should also take a tough stance against the rule violators. The authorities concerned must act now to stop the scourge of plastic.