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
  • 27th August 1965 : Birth of students force
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • World's largest adult vaccination program
  • 2nd State Level Yogasana Sports C'ship
  • Just survival is enough :: Poem
  • Add oats to your beauty regime
  • Thri Kappi Sanaba @Andro #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Legal Campaign [17 Sep] : Gallery
  • Demise of Padma Shri Thongram Haridas
  • Legal Awareness & Outreach Campaign
  • Changes that the time brings :: Poem
  • AMWJU Foundation Day [16 Sep] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Mapping the Changemakers of NE India
  • Will inclusion centrestage at Equality Forum
  • World ozone day & the living beings
  • Understanding CAT
  • Eternally struggling Manipuri women
  • Posers on the Interlocutor
  • Zeilad Lake, Tamenglong #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Report on 54th Engineers Day 2021
  • Social Media & Political Campaigning
  • What if ? :: Poem
  • Condolence prayer for Oscar Fernandes
  • Virus threat not over yet
  • The virus is still out there!
  • RIMS, Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Nagaland CM Rio calls Ravi 'genuine' man
  • Role of media in combating Covid
  • One day business shut-down in Dimapur
  • The warning bell is ringing loud & clear
  • Anxiety over arrival of train service
  • Choosing candidate the first step
  • Raghu Leishangthem : Manipuri Poet Biodata
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Memo to CM : Inclusion of Meetei in ST
  • Without you :: Poem
  • Lessons from the pandemic
  • ICS (IAS) viva voce of Khushwant Singh
  • Blaming predecessor till near end of term
  • Questioning truce pacts with others
  • ILP & COVID checking @Jirighat : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Webinar: Higher Edn & Career in USA & UK
  • Prostate Cancer: Know its warning signals
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Hope heals crisis :: Poem
  • AFSPA in NE amid peace accords
  • TSE completes 22 years : 1999 to 2021
  • Pathetic Road @Imphal-Jiri : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • National Lok Adalat in High Court of Manipur
  • On tourism in the Northeast
  • The Dement Corona Avoids :: Poem
  • The prism of relationships
  • Reappraisal of early Meitei settlement
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Royal Charter Day celebrated
  • Poshan Abhiyaan : A people's movement
  • MTech in Defence Tech at Amrita Univ
  • Ethno-Veterinary medicine in livestock
  • Power dept employees eyeing soft target
  • Taking a look at issues in 2012, 2017
  • Meetei Leikai @, Silchar, Assam #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • The uncle conundrum
  • Himalayan Day : Science & Knowledge
  • Pandemic : changing dynamics of preschool
  • Common factors that enhance beauty
  • Another peace deal sans solution..
  • Rolling up sleeves ahead of Assembly polls
  • Development, Ethnicity & Gender : Book Rvw
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • World Suicide Prevention Day 2021
  • 'bob World' : Mobile application launched
  • Glimpses of Love :: Poem
  • How much more ordeal can Afghans take?
  • Tall claims on reforming agriculture sector
  • The commandments from WHO
  • Burma refugees yes or no ?
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Biotechnology Grant (BIG) for startups
  • Teaching as a career in India
  • Epitome of impeccable humanity & humility
  • Role of CSOs vital in preventing virus
  • Disturbing high TPR in some hill districts
  • Fine Arts Exhibition MU #3: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Immune boosting for lactating women
  • Give up on fear not dreams !
  • Stop plantation of Palm Oil Trees in NE
  • Another Perspective of Life :: Poem
  • ..right recipe for bitter electioneering
  • Debate over ST status for Meiteis
  • Jadonang in History :: Part 2
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Athokpam Kholchandra : Dr Kamal Kabiratna
  • Remembering Lord Krishna appearance day
  • Sustainable livestock farming
  • After 9 years, thirst to serve unchanged
  • Disturbing TPR in some districts
  • Saikhom Mirabai: Olympics #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • World Sexual Health Day in Manipur
  • Save The Peace : Conf on Indo-Naga peace
  • Teachers, I salute thee !
  • The Art of Living :: Poem
  • Bongbal Kholen, Kangpokpi #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Art Festival 2021 canceled
  • Towards a new Manipur Budget 2022-23
  • Inauguration of NPF Manipur Head Office
  • Natural facial at home for glowing skin
  • School yearning to resume normal class
  • The uproar over Urea 'shortage'
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Pundit Raja Atombapu : Doyen of journalism
  • Friends :: Poem
  • Meeting report at Cachar, Assam
  • Indigenous peoples & a new social contract
  • Pseudo-indigene permanent threat to native
  • Heavy rush for admission to Class XI
  • Jadonang in History :: Part 1
  • Memorial Stone & Shaheed Minar : Gallery
  • An officer and a gentleman
  • Mass production of biofertilisers
  • Kannappa Naayanaar - World 1st Eye Donor
  • Will election ruin gains made in virus fight
  • Signing off August with lowest TPR
  • Keidoubagi Kidoino on COVID #3: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • September Calendar for Year 2021 : Tools
  • Revisiting all alphabets of Article 371
  • Abdication :: Poem
  • Need a softer approach to language issue
  • 2022 polls: Tough task for Congress
  • Party hopping antics before the election
  • Death Anniv: Shimreingam Shaiza: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Khangminashi Lecture VIII : Electric Vehicle
  • Ardent Gardener :: Poem
  • Vision Correction doesn't need a doctor
  • No place for Meetei in Heritage Museum?
  • Ordinary testing rate can't beat the virus
  • Why not make it a poll call
  • 90th Martyr Day- Haipou Jadonang : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Cycle Rally- Natl Sports Day, MU : Gallery
  • Do prayers have the power to heal!
  • Observance of National Sports Day
  • Freedom fighter's mail
  • Frauds feasting on pandemic situation
  • From 'corona' to rousing welcome
  • Meitei ancestors lived in Koubru hills
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Senior Fellowship @ICAR-NEH, Imphal
  • What ails the hill tribals of Manipur
  • Why ? I wonder :: Poem
  • Establishment of Natl Police Univ in Manipur
  • Olympics : Games and Beyond
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Post-COVID: need to emerge strong
  • Abstract :: Poem
  • Seminar on Yogic Science
  • Milk make up
  • Visit of central team amid urea shortage
  • Looking beyond the next 4 months
  • Laonii Fest of Poumai #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Governor-designate La Ganesan : Gallery
  • Applications invited from CSOs from NE
  • Covid, Microorganisms, Immunity & food
  • Wishes to Prahlad Ji & Ranjan Ji
  • Setting the stage for India's Gold Quest
  • Assembly over, focus on curbing virus
  • Low number of tests, low new cases
  • Phuba Khuman, Senapati #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Insects @ Charoi Pandongba, Saitu : Gallery
  • No lament, but willingness :: Poem
  • Love - An ever evolving reality
  • Unlock, poll process right recipe for virus
  • Looking beyond the proposed ADC Bill
  • Nata Sankirtan in Manipuri society
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Workshop @MU : Trend in Biological Science
  • Manipur Assembly session adjourned
  • HAC approved ADC Bill 2021 imbroglio
  • Fellowship for BIRAC SPARSH program
  • 13th August @BT Park #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Motsillaba Mingsel : Grand Jury Best Film
  • Youth dealing with adversity during pandemic
  • Pure lifeblood :: Poem
  • Skilling India, a must to encash dividend
  • Virus cases stabilising after curfew lift
  • Pointing fingers at some 'hill leaders'
  • Manipur Olympians reception : Gallery
  • Mary Kom reception- Aug 20: Gallery
  • Hijam Gourashyam : Manipur Sahitya
  • 13th August @BT Park #1 : Gallery
  • Sushila Likmabam reception- Aug 18: Gallery
  • S Nilakanta / P Sushila [Aug 11] #2 : Gallery
  • Pebam Chittaranjan Mangang : Gallery
  • 13th August by CSOs : Gallery
  • 13th August @Thangal Complex : Gallery
  • 13th August @Hicham Yaicham Pat : Gallery
  • RK Sanayaima on 13th August : Gallery
  • Corona, Corona all the way
  • S Nilakanta / P Sushila [Aug 11] #1 : Gallery
  • Road from Imphal to Willong #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 vaccination @ Tamei : Gallery
  • Mirabai felicitated truck drivers: Gallery
  • Saikhom Mirabai @Imphal #3: Gallery
  • Saikhom Mirabai @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • HSLC 2021 Result: Statistics Abstract
  • HSLC 2021 Result: 1st Division
  • HSLC 2021 Result: 2nd Division
  • HSLC 2021 Result: 3rd Division
  • HSLC 2021 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2021 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2021 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • Saikhom Mirabai @ Kakching: Gallery
  • HSE 2021 Result: Statistics Abstract
  • HSE 2021 Result: Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2021 Result: District-Wise Pass %
  • HSE 2021 Result: Science Stream
  • HSE 2021 Result: Arts Stream
  • HSE 2021 Result: Commerce Stream
  • Shanglakpam Nilakanta: Olympics #2: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2021 #3: Gallery
  • Sushila Pukhrambam :: Olympics : Gallery
  • Saikhom Mirabai : Tokyo Olympics 2020
  • Pukhrambam Sushila : Tokyo Olympics Dream
  • Sushila Likmabam: Olympics Dream: Gallery
  • Lalginsei, Radamchui, Ngaworpei: eMing
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar :: 2021