TODAY -

Total ban on polythene bags need of the hour in Manipur

Dr Govind Singh *

 A plastic bag wraps fish at 'Fish Fair' at  Hapta Kangjeibung, Imphal on 14  November, 2012
A plastic bag wraps fish at 'Fish Fair' at Hapta Kangjeibung, Imphal on 14 November, 2012 :: pix - Bunti Phurailatpam



The polythene bag is perhaps the most polluting discovery of the previous century. First created by accident in 1933 in England, and further developed (and patented) by the Swedish company Celloplast in 1965, polythene bags started replacing most other types of shopping bags by the 1980s. But in 1997, after making another chance discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world became aware of the deadly waste plastic mess that we have now created for ourselves.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in Northern Pacific Ocean and is a large collection of marine debris. Most of this marine debris comprises polythene, both intact as well as broken down into tiny pieces. This has become one of the greatest threat to marine animals, most notably to the sea turtles which mistakenly eat polythene bags thinking they are jellyfish.

Polythene is a non-biodegradable substance and it does not disintegrate or degrade itself in nature. Once created, it remains around us at all times. Once discarded, it often comes back to us in ugly and unhealthy ways. In 2002, Bangladesh became the first visible victim of the plastic mess.

Plastic bags were found to play a key role in the clogging of drains which resulted in disastrous flooding in Bangladesh in that year. Bangladesh did not think twice before banning the use of use of polythene bags in that same year to prevent further such disasters. Many countries and states in India have banned polythene bags since then.

Manipur banned the use of certain polythene bags (less than 50 microns in thickness) in 2017. However, the ban is yet to be fully implemented. Large-scale use of polythene bags is a common sight across markets in Imphal, the State capital.

What is surprising is that even though polythene bags are now known to cause severe health hazards, they are not being automatically discarded by the people at large. And despite a ban declared by the concerned authorities, we are not able to stop the use of these polythene bags. This clearly indicates a lack of awareness in the people on the health implications of using polythene bags.

Let us try to fully understand the public health and environmental impacts of using polythene bags, especially in Manipur. Choking of drains and water channels resulting in floods is a direct consequence of plastic waste.

Rivers and drains filled with polythene bags can be easily witnessed in many parts of Manipur, especially in urban areas, all year round. If not properly managed, this can result in flooding and inundation of low-lying areas during the monsoon months. Manipur has indeed been facing more frequent floods in recent years which only stand to worsen due to the accumulation of plastic waste.

What is perhaps more concerning than polythene bags choking our rivers and drains is the affect they may have on the fish and other aquatic organisms. Polythene bags break down into smaller particles through a process known as fragmentation, and end up becoming microplastic. These tiny bits of plastic are often ingested by fish and are known to have damaging effects on all aquatic animals.

One estimate suggests that at least two-thirds of the world’s fish stocks are already suffering from plastic ingestion. Microplastics are known to absorb harmful toxic chemicals. These chemicals often get released from the microplastics when they are inside an animal’s body. What is even more concerning is that through fish, these microplastics are able to enter the human body. This is especially true in Manipur where fish is an integral part of the food intake.

While research is ongoing to find out detailed impacts of microplastics on fish and on humans, there is enough data available to know that they cause much harm to both fish and to humans. Thus, the more polythene bags we use in Manipur, the more polythene we are consuming in our daily diet.

Polythene bags are often dumped on land or buried underground in order to get rid of them. Here too, it is well known that chlorinated plastic tends to release harmful chemicals into the surrounding soil and in the ground water. A large number of waste polythene bags in Manipur mostly end up being burnt. This is because the Waste Management System in Manipur is yet to cover the entire State.

An evening view from most rooftops in Imphal will reveal smoke emanating from all sides. The burning of waste, which includes large amounts of plastic, is actually the most unhealthy way of getting rid of plastic waste. This is because when plastic burns, it releases toxic gases some of which are also carcinogenic.

Repeated exposure to such toxic gases can cause many harmful diseases including cancer. In addition, toxic gases that are released from burning plastic are also known to have adverse neurological, reproductive and immunological impacts on the human body.

This is even more concerning for Imphal Valley since once these toxic gases are released, they will not be dispersed immediately due to the hills on all sides. Thus, toxic gases from plastic burning will remain in the air for longer time thus exposing more and more people to their harmful impacts.

How polythene bags are impacting us is becoming more apparent as more and more data is being generated. However what is absolutely clear is that their use is causing harm to us and that people of Manipur are at a greater risk. However, due to their convenience and less cost, polythene bags are being readily used everywhere.

It is time we understand the actual human health cost of using polythene bags and take a pledge to stop using polythene bags altogether. The State can help by banning not just some plastic bags but implement a total ban on the use of all kinds of polythene bags. Remember, polythene bags may be very cheap, but your life is not!


* Dr Govind Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Director, Delhi Greens organisation and has been an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies in the University of Delhi since the last six years.
He may be reached at govind(AT)delhigreens(DOT)org
This article was webcasted on February 26, 2019.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • A remarkable journey of a Thang-Ta exponent
  • Day 4 : Sangai Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Education & Teachers in Manipur
  • Its all about learning
  • Manipur- 6 medals at NSG Fencing at Gujarat
  • Coronavirus - A grave threat
  • Class X examination has started !
  • Modi's romance with NE states
  • NE has 60 most polluted river stretches
  • Eepan Thaba -birth ceremony : Gallery
  • Changpombi, Aihong, Ajonah : eMing
  • Flood Light at Khuman Lampak : Gallery
  • List of nominees : Manipur Film Awards 2020
  • Extending ILP to Manipur Needs A Review
  • The great cosmic discovery - IX
  • 36th Central Conference of ICI at Jiribam
  • Festival with a significant message
  • Sirarakhong Hathei Phanit #2 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Understanding dementia #1
  • The Old Man in the Afternoon :: Poem
  • Nurturing Peace
  • Historic Bodo Accord: Beginning of an era
  • Atrial Flutter treated with Radio Frequency
  • Condolence & prayer meeting held
  • Is accepting gift by newsperson unethical
  • Fashion Show @ Sangai Fest #2 : Gallery
  • 71st Indian Republic Day #5 : Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni - Naga Seed Sowing Fest
  • Revelation for the new decade
  • Beneath our hearts :: Poem
  • Makhol : Discussing Arts
  • Online for Inner Line Permit
  • Redefining mob violence
  • Wakching Thagi Sanarei #1 :: eRang
  • For the Love of Valentine
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Teach a Topic : Online Competition
  • Valentine's Day beauty tips
  • Street Vendor Restriction: Violation of Art 21
  • Community Radio Awareness Workshop - NE
  • School Fagathansi Mission: on Govt school
  • Re-thinking of the serious wrong
  • Amur Falcon Fest @Tamenglong #1 : Gallery
  • Wetlands & biodiversity: Promote actions..
  • Sexual & reproductive health key to SDGs
  • Maddening power of Dili
  • Nagaland BJP leaders joined NPF
  • 2019 review: Ministry of Renewable Energy #2
  • Enacting a farce, MPP style: Comical caricature
  • The silence breaks
  • Dzukou Valley Landscape #2 : Gallery
  • Day 4 : Sangai Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Can we dream of achieving Vision-2020 ?
  • The Ant :: Poem
  • Pulok Mukherjee take charge as Director IBSD
  • The Bodo Accord and after
  • Reqts at Birla Emporiums, Khurai
  • Third time in office for the AAP
  • Govt should stop harassing media
  • Thang Ta at JNMDA #1 : Gallery
  • pNTOgi peraH :: Seireng
  • Bodo accord: A hope for peace and stability
  • Endangered Legal Systems #2
  • A Wintery Song :: Poem
  • Career options in textile industry
  • Weekly Mao Market at Imphal
  • Education should eradicates superstition
  • Sirarakhong Village, Ukhrul : Gallery
  • National Master Athletics : Gallery
  • Dramas in Higher Education
  • Has Govt overlooked Bipartite Settlement?
  • RIST Talk -43 : Nobel Prize in Physics 2019
  • Cannabis in Parkinson's disease
  • Heed appeal of Chairman of COHSEM
  • Accord after IM cadres return from Myanmar
  • Nongmadi : Synopsis of the Shumang Leela
  • 71st Indian Republic Day #4 : Gallery
  • Investment on research & development
  • From Dawn till Dusk :: Poem
  • National Lok Adalat at Lamphel Court
  • India unites on wrong issues
  • Gandhari -Dance Drama #3 : Gallery
  • TwaI na_AosuM :: Seireng
  • Political will to solve climate crisis
  • Product Validation & Quality Control Training
  • Changemakers in Bio-Pharma : Lecture
  • Honey for radiant skin
  • NE ignored for many years stand of PM
  • The changing face of RIMS
  • Phisakol - Film Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • World Tourism Day at Noney #6 : Gallery
  • Dr Ng Brajachand - Reminiscence ...
  • The Strange Boy :: Poem
  • Reqts at PR Enterprises, Khurai
  • Interior Designer at Hatil Furniture
  • Need to restrict cross border interactions
  • The mental equation
  • Hentak - Indigenous Food Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Business Correspondent Model :: Book
  • Endangered Legal Systems #1
  • The great cosmic discovery - VIII
  • The Kaleidoscopic prism
  • Living in the age of nCoV & Swine Flu
  • Bloody battle for greed
  • Agaki Waterfall @ Tamei : Gallery
  • 71st Indian Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Community Policing in Manipur
  • Knitwear design as career option
  • Budget & wealth creation in Manipur
  • Visions sans missions & North East India
  • Free Speech & Expression in a Debacle
  • Apple Farm @ Kumbi : Gallery
  • Day 4 : Sangai Fest #1 : Gallery
  • World Wetlands Day 2020
  • Thounaojam Niranjoy breaks 'world record'
  • Discipline and students
  • 2019 review: Ministry of Renewable Energy #1
  • Academic activities paralyse in College
  • Yoga Instructor Training by MIT
  • FIR against MPSC
  • Manipur's Theatre is facing a dark time
  • NE festival to promote culture in Thailand
  • Highest priority accorded to NE in Budget
  • Maibam Nabakishore : Play-wright :: Profle
  • Right to die for people, terminally ill
  • Communities along Barak River #3: Gallery
  • Suresh Huidrom: Natl Architecture Award
  • The Chirp of a Sparrow :: Poem
  • India's last Governor-General
  • Vanishing wetlands: Anthropogenic pressures
  • Coronavirus prevention @ Moreh : Gallery
  • Tribute Rock Concert for (L) Hegin #3 : Gallery
  • Degradation of wetlands in Manipur
  • Tansen plays at Darbar
  • Water scarcity & stress
  • Computational Thinking (CT): Education
  • People have every right to know...
  • Maibi Jagoi @ JNMDA : Gallery
  • Novel Coronavirus outbreak : WHO
  • February Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Manipur : Champion at Vovinam National
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • CAT rank predictor: for an MBA aspirant
  • Delhi Fashion Club launched in Mumbai
  • MSAB Literary Meet at Benguluru
  • Sports- Making it to news for right reason
  • Judiciary on the rescue Indian Constitution
  • Mr. Khadang #1 :: eRang
  • 71st Indian Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Soraisam Keshoram : Natyabhusan (Drama)
  • Chasing a wonderland :: Poem
  • Manipur champion at 16th Sr Natl Jump Rope
  • Admission- Public Health Foundation of India
  • The Killing Fields 2013-20 : News Timeline
  • Padma Vibhushan for Mary Kom
  • The Changing face of Imphal Times
  • Conservation initiatives of Hornbills #2
  • Day 6 : Sangai Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Call for Proposal- Biotechnology Ignition
  • A Picnic by the Pond :: Poem
  • Year review: Min of Rural Development #2
  • Mumbai International Film Festival 2020
  • Nail care tips
  • Coronavirus: How prepared is Manipur ?
  • CMHT needs to be reviewed
  • 71st Indian Republic Day #1 : Gallery
  • Khangminashi - VI: Gallery
  • Custodial Death
  • Golden opportunity for a Speaker
  • Khangminashi - VI, Talk Series :: Report
  • 1000 trained in Fish Processing
  • Supports agitation call by CAF & PD Labourers
  • Medical camp at Thenjang, Churachandpur
  • Peace pact signed with the NDFB
  • A better and inclusive alternative
  • Gaan-Ngai at Kakhulong #2 : Gallery
  • Tribute Rock Concert for (L) Hegin #2 : Gallery
  • Mary Kom- Vibhushan, O Bembem- Bhushan
  • Felicitation of AMAND by Pune Municipal
  • Biotechnology Ignition Grant (only for NE)
  • Defence Academy & Naval Academy Exam
  • Condemn harassment of women IPS officer
  • On the assault of IPS Women Officer
  • Free Mock Interview Programme for UPSC
  • Replacing AR at check points
  • The way forward towards civility
  • Glass Painting by Khusbu: Gallery
  • Manipur Police Dog Squad : Gallery
  • Ethel's Wedding Journey :: Poem
  • India on 71st Republic Day
  • Supreme Court's ruling on Anti-Defection Law
  • Let the light lead to growth
  • Republic Day celebrated amid tight security
  • Angangdagi Mairen Onba :: Funga Wari
  • Day 6 : Sangai Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Public as leader in a Republic
  • 2020 :: Poem
  • Aung San Suu Kyi - 'The Lady with no Fear'
  • The endocannabinoid system in human body
  • Now CSOs started infringing to media freedom
  • Aerial- Imp to Tamenglong #2: Gallery
  • Pot Lannaba @ Houchongba #2 : Gallery
  • Chingda Satpi Engellei #4 :: eRang
  • 28th Imphal Book Fair #2 : Gallery
  • Hentak - Indigenous Food Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Tribute Rock Concert for (L) Hegin #1 : Gallery
  • AMWJU amends code of conduct- Jan 22 2020
  • Lalkansung - Natl Child Award for Achievement
  • Landscape of Purul, Senapati #2 : Gallery
  • Of bibliophile & Imphal Book Fair 2020
  • Constitutional protections to specific groups #2
  • Gaan-Ngai at Kakhulong #1 : Gallery
  • Children Adventure Sports Camp #2 : Gallery
  • Special Police Unit for NE in Delhi
  • Conservation initiatives of Hornbills #1
  • Day 3 : Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • Statehood Women's Polo : Gallery
  • 28th Imphal Book Fair #1 : Gallery
  • Winter Relief Program @Patsoi: Gallery
  • Of our Responsibility and our Rights
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai @Chingkham Kabui Khul: Gallery
  • Cultural @ Shirui Lily Fest #4 : Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Ramji Kabui Khul : Gallery
  • Thong Nambonbi broke apart: Gallery
  • 'Nongju Ahing' :: eRang Classic Photos
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1: Gallery
  • New Year picnic @Singda Dam : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #6: Gallery
  • Tolloi, Ukhrul :: 360 Panorama View
  • SPONSORED ADS