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
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #1: Gallery
  • Abdur Rahaman : Gopal Sharma Award
  • Yaoshang :: Photos related with Yaoshang
  • Journey into Nature of Human Culture #2
  • ..must to eliminate racial discrimination
  • Maharaj & election candidates
  • Poor representation of women from NE
  • Ravi-NSCN/GPRN talks in Dimapur
  • BJP kick-starts campaign for Outer LS
  • BJP national leader arrives in Manipur
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #1: Gallery
  • Miles Of Promises To Keep
  • Time to bend curve sharply to #endTB
  • Postdoctoral position at APU / IISc
  • Closing of NSS Camp at ADBU
  • Female polo players riding up a storm
  • NPP, NPF not to contest in 1 of 2 LS seats
  • Rahul's attack at BJP over jailed Journalist
  • Mizo People(Manipur) visits Jampui Hill
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba : Gallery
  • Thokchom Sanatombi : Sangeetratna
  • Journey of 'Right To Information (RTI)'
  • Career options in Commerce stream #3
  • Holi skin and hair care tips
  • BJP's first list has 16 candidates from NE
  • 5 ex-MLAs quit Cong in Manipur, join NEIDP
  • KITCO bags contract for Imphal airport
  • What's next for the Rohingya? : Discussion
  • Manipur dancer explore human cost of war
  • Jailed journalist having severe health issue
  • Torch Rally Journalists Sports: Gallery
  • AEgi puNsi :: Seireng
  • UN letter to Govt on Kishorechand case
  • Babloo Loitongbam at UNHR Geneva
  • Yaoshang (Holi) : Festival of colours
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Prevention of kidney disease
  • NPF on PDA electoral campaign
  • Sports Meet at Delhi University
  • Festival of colour is upon all
  • Changing Trend of politics
  • View of Ukhrul Town #2 : Gallery
  • Renu Takhel: UN Human Rights, Geneva
  • Chiyamba, Amengba :: eMing
  • Hunting in the Himalayas :: Book Review
  • Justification: against Meeteis ST demand
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Executive Committee 2019 of BMSA
  • Google Workshop on Journalism
  • High level of air pollution
  • Way to go as but hopes stir
  • CCpur Dance @Keibul Lamjao : Gallery
  • The East Wind from Yunnan
  • Journey into Nature of Human Culture #1
  • Yaoshang Thabal :: Poem
  • North East NSS Festival begins
  • Talking... ending social media introversion
  • Opposing stand on ST demand
  • Kounu Lairembi Haraoba #1 : Gallery
  • Nipalsuba Mapok : Shumang Leela
  • Women's Bill : A passage to nowhere?
  • Challenges in elderly for medical tests
  • All's fair in love in war: Nitza :: Review
  • Why I write ?
  • Looking back to 2012, 2014 elections
  • Mukna Kangjei #2 : Gallery
  • Mova Cave of Hungpung in Ukhrul
  • Catapults, Molotov Cocktails & Music!
  • Appeal for Meitei's demand for ST
  • Google News Training for Journalists
  • Of Crimes Against Humanity :: Poem
  • Bedtime beauty hacks to look young
  • Mary Kom to skip Asian championship
  • Thabal chongbagi SenKhaiba : Gallery
  • Zeliangrong women: Role in society #2
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Cry of a Dying River - 69 :: Poem
  • Nationality & Gorkha statehood movement
  • Free Children Heart Surgery Camp
  • Workshop on Python Programing at MU
  • Lining up for BJP, Cong
  • Indian Politics after Pulwama Terror Attack
  • Sory Wahengbam : eRang Actress Profile
  • International River Day @ Nungbrung Village
  • Nongthombam Biren: People's CM
  • Can Jamir Do A Lazarus ?
  • Dr. Shantibala's The Sacred Witch :: Review
  • Rural development process
  • Eyeing 22 out of 25 in North East
  • Interfering the media
  • Myanmar army cracks down on NSCN (K)
  • Phayeng Koubru Haraoba #2: Gallery
  • Komorebi - The Longing :: Poem
  • Little love in twilight of life
  • Election code of conduct anytime
  • Surveying India's unemployment numbers
  • DAMMS' statement on Meitei ST Demand
  • Choosing the right candidate
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • The Innampei festival of Chothe #2
  • CC Meet: SU vs NACO : Gallery
  • AEbu tuMduna lEKi gad_ra :: Seireng
  • That Hurts :: Poem
  • Workshop on Statistical Data at MU
  • The International Women's Day
  • Politics : A way of life !
  • Celebrate festival of democracy responsibly
  • The truth unfolded
  • Nipalsuba Mapok #1 : Gallery
  • Maisnam Renuka's Painting : Gallery
  • Parental Alienation: Poem 2 : Poem
  • The cost of a vote
  • Motivation & rewards for development
  • Career options in Commerce stream #2
  • Forest rights more than nine-tenths
  • Setting back final deal by 60 days
  • Traffic woes
  • slams Nagaland CM's statement on ILP
  • Symbolism in the Tribal Art #4
  • Laiphrakpam Ashok Kumar: Akademi Award
  • ST Demand Rally [Mar 3] #2: Gallery
  • Mee Manukhang will not be televised
  • Govt should grant prosecution sanction
  • Zeliangrong women: Role in society #1
  • General Strike mapung fana chathari
  • Rolling out Lok Sabha schedule
  • Saroi Khangba @Imphal : Gallery
  • 'Women Health' Workshop : Gallery
  • Manipuri Muslims Conference : Report
  • Meetei ST demand bu lanna uhanbiganu
  • Caveman & Children of (19)70s : Poem
  • Workshop on "Women Health" at Pune
  • Natural facial at home for glowing skin
  • Inauguration of NSS Camp at ADBU
  • Changing Manipur - which direction ?
  • Nongkhrang Ehanba @Lilong #2 : Gallery
  • Cessation of hostilities to POW
  • Magical power of music
  • Intl Women's Day requires regrouping
  • General Strike Mapung Fahanbiyu
  • Pravish's Case disposed by CJM
  • NSS Camp at Assam Don Bosco
  • Former Cong leader welcomed at Dimapur
  • Never asked India for land quip
  • Issues of women's rights
  • Barak Fest @ Senapati #2 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #1: Gallery
  • Reading Megh-dut in Manipuri #2
  • To be a woman and to be in India
  • Cry of a Dying River - 68 :: Poem
  • Can Meitei/Meetei be a tribe ?
  • Raging debate over ST demand
  • Climate change matters
  • Class X Exam @Johnstone : Gallery
  • ciH Amadi tMgi KeYnaba :: Seireng
  • Yaoshang be observed as 'Sports Week'
  • Hmar Inpui Assembly at Churachandpur
  • Jute bags versus Lenobags
  • ...Work for social justice
  • State of higher education here
  • Creating an education-friendly atmosphere
  • Shopping for Shivaratri #1: Gallery
  • 3rd World Bamboo Workshop #3 : Gallery
  • Reinvigorating the Awl-len festival
  • I am a poet :: Poem
  • Roles of Members of Parliament
  • Don't just age gracefully - Age beautifully
  • SRF/JRF for Mizoram University [Upd]
  • ST status campaign : An overview
  • May be this time it may happen
  • ST Demand Rally [Mar 3] #1: Gallery
  • Sanaroishingee Nunit : Gallery
  • Rejoinder to TNL's Diatribe on the Kukis
  • Schemes of Panchayati Raj #2
  • Career options in Commerce stream
  • 3 Resolutions from ST Demand Rally
  • NPF on Nagaland Budget Session [Feb 25]
  • LS elections :: Key : Choice of candidates
  • Price of development
  • Phayeng Koubru Haraoba #1: Gallery
  • Nagaland Dance @Sangai Fest : Gallery
  • Bad Boy Eats the Yellow Snow
  • Name :: Poem
  • Alcohol prohibition
  • Treading murky waters
  • PM Kisan: Reducing risk..increasing return
  • Rallying around ST demand for Meiteis
  • Myanmar Army takes control of NSCN (K)
  • Henjunaha #3 :: Funga Wari
  • Reading Megh-dut in Manipuri #1
  • Purnima Ngangom's Painting : Gallery
  • Impact of Anglo Manipur War 1891 #2
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Lived across LoC
  • Most Beautiful Woman in World : Poem
  • CAB no more issue
  • Traditional Raas Dance #2: Gallery
  • Cultural @Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • RS adjourned without CAB: What now? #3
  • Retrospection on Sport person's Day
  • Marriage ceremony : Zeliangrong & Tai #3
  • Thadou Inpi & TSA not under KIM & KSO
  • Bioscope show
  • The haunt continues
  • Positive change in behaviour of cops
  • Maharaj Kumar Priyabarta Singh : Profile
  • March Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • CV Raman & National Science Day
  • Cry of a Dying River - 67 :: Poem
  • Tour of laboratory by a blood sample
  • MU celebrate National Science Day
  • Science Day at DM Community College
  • Displeasure over attitude of PDA :: NPF
  • The making of a united India
  • Morning air raid at JeM camp
  • Lui-ngai-ni @Senapati #3: Gallery
  • Yubi Lakpi #1 : Gallery
  • Holi Pala @Sangai Festival : Gallery
  • Indie films: Loktak Lairembee & Soni #2
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #2 : Gallery
  • Konthoujam Maikel's Painting : Gallery
  • Pui Jianna Thangamliu :: eRang
  • March Past: Republic Day: Gallery
  • Lui-ngai-ni @Senapati #2: Gallery
  • Police check @Jirimukh, Jiri : Gallery
  • Dzukou Valley, Senapati : Gallery
  • Thamoise Foidattuna :: e-pao Radio
  • Onetwo Okram : Singer- Profile :: eRang
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3 : Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019
  • SPONSORED ADS