Sunday, 5 December, 2021

Getting rid of plastic pollution

Earlier, people used to carry large jute bags from home to do shopping in the kitchen markets. It became the norm everywhere in both rural and urban areas. But in course of time, usage of jute bags reduced dramatically when light, cheap and easily disposable polythene bags entered the Bangladeshi market in 1980s. Now, the use of poly bags is so pervasive across the country that even the vendors use them to serve street food.

Presently, such bags can be found everywhere ‒ from the roadsides and dustbins to the landfills, from the drains and canals to the rivers. The excessive use of these bags leads to numerous problems especially in the city area. As these bags are imperishable, it is one of the main reasons for the city's waterlogging. Those litter the environment. When polythene bags are burned, they produce toxic fumes and pollute the air.

The non-biodegradable characteristics of plastic bags also leave its devastating effect on the soil and water. The polymers form a layer on the surface of water and soil. As a result, the farming land becomes barren and crops yield from it are found to be contaminated.

Besides environmental problems, indiscriminate use of plastic has adverse effect on human health. Each stage of plastic lifecycle poses serious risk to human health. A recent study of the WHO found the existence of micro-plastic in 90 per cent of water bottle which has been tested. The consumption of micro-plastic will cause respiratory diseases, and regulate the heart rate, digestion and fertility too. Because of our indifference, plastic pollution has increased at an alarming rate in our country. Realising its adverse impact, the Chattogram City Corporation has undertaken a praiseworthy initiative to make three of its kitchen markets free from the harmful thing. But, mass mobilisation is a must for freeing the port city from poly bags.  City residents should act in a civilised manner. They should not carelessly through poly bags on roads without caring for other's convenience. The DNCC and the DSCC may also emulate the example of the CCC.