What’s the best way to move away from using everyday plastic products like cups, plates and spoons? According to a district in Assam, the answer lies in nature.
Baksa district in Assam has decided to discard single-use plastic and use banana leaves instead. The initiative comes under Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin. Baksa PHE Division officials have been reportedly directed to motivate villagers from not buying plastic products and use banana leaves instead which are biodegradable. People have been asked to use banana leaves to make plates, bowls, trays and containers instead of spending their money on plastic bags and products.
Other such initiatives
Recently, United North-East, a non-profit initiative, posted a picture of ice-cream served in banana leaf cup and bamboo spoon after the government hinted at banning single-use plastic products. An IITian from Assam recently developed an eco-friendly bottle made of bamboo. The bottles come in different shapes and sizes and cost between Rs 400 and Rs 600.
According to an analysis, many global manufacturers are switching to producing alternative products such as paper and aluminium and biodegradable plastic films than can either be recycled or disposed off sustainably. Christopher Shanahan at Frost & Sullivan told Food Processing, “With rising concerns around plastic pollution and stringent government regulations, manufacturers are seeking alternatives to plastic packaging. This is resulting in an uptick in use of paper- and aluminium-based packaging or other non-plastic materials such as biodegradable foods or resin.”
India’s plastic problem
India produces 26,000 tonnes of plastic daily out of which 10,000 tonnes remain uncollected. A study by Un-Plastic Collective (UPC) said that India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic annually.
“Globally, over 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since 1950, and about 60 per cent of that has ended up in landfills or in the natural environment. India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, of which 40 per cent, remains uncollected; 43 per cent is used for packaging, most of which is single-use.”
Another study by IIT Bombay estimated that Mumbai’s sea will have more plastic than fish, threatening the existence of 700 marine species.