After many attempts it seems hard for local authority in Udaipur to make a polythene-free city.
Apparently it is one serious havoc not only Udaipur but most of the cities in the world is fighting. However, I didn’t asked anyone that why it is so difficult to give-up plastics; rather I tried analyzing by my own with some short term research on the human behavior and our changed lifestyle.
I tried figuring out reasons why polythene and/ or plastic ban is unsuccessful till now in our city Udaipur.
This subject could go deeper and lengthier but I know the potential of my imperfect understanding on such sensitive issues and resources available to me, therefore I focused mainly on few basic points regarding this.
Certainly you will agree if I say that we all are habitual of using almost everything in plastic bags and plastic wrapped products, but did you ever give it a thought? Why we do so? To find the answer we need to go some 20 years back.
If your age is 30 or above then you will definitely remember the lifestyle we were used to of, 20 or so years back. If you are younger than my assumption then ask your elders how the way of life was in their childhood and how it evolved till now.
I compare yesterday and today just by giving one simple example of shopping grains and pulses.
Yesterday the grains we used to buy were in huge quantity and that generally comes in jute bag of 100kgs or more.
Today we prefer to buy grains and cereals in fewer amounts like 10-20kgs every month, some buy even less and all that comes in a polythene bag.
Extensive modification in our Life style– before, we used to live in joint family but now we prefer to be alone or a single family. Our need crunches and now everything we buy, comes in small plastic packs.
Today we don’t prefer drinking water from earthen pots, we feel shy carrying utensils to the dairy shop, we don’t carry cloth bag to the vegetable market, we changed thinking and that’s the reason we are unable to stop using plastic bags.
Before coming to the plastic I need to dig deeper to reach the main cause of it, there are two aspects we need to understand first one is Behavior and other is Habit.
Scientifically a human behavior is a mere demonstration influenced by culture, values, ethics, authority and genetics. If any particular behavior repeats regularly then it is called as habit.
Hence, because of a change in our behavior which is associated with our social and cultural transformation we became habitual to a different lifestyle.
Plastics, which is easily accessible and free of cost made our fast life easy and compact.
Slowly it became a part of our behavioral pattern which is so deeply affected in our everyday life that now a sudden change of law which enforces us to give up this pattern is like a far cry.
I read in a newspaper today that local authority is going to be very strict to those who are using polythene bags. They will capture videos of culprits and punish them. I say it another useless attempt because it won’t be a permanent solution.
Using or not using polythene bags is not a problem; problem is how much you understand the root cause of it and how effectively you battle to solve it.
First question is how serious the authority is? And what effective measures they took to change this old bad habit of people? Everybody now knows the danger to environment plastic is causing but changing a 10-20 year old lifestyle where every single thing comes in plastic pack is not that easy.
A small time vegetable vendor if stops using plastic bag then he can’t even manage to earn Rs.50/- a day which is a smaller amount for you but for him it is his daily bread.
I am not authorized to point others or the authority directly but I am free to share my ideas and opinions on how they can really make Udaipur a plastic free city.
1. Get the help of local Mohalla Committees, appoint few volunteers from the committee and make them responsible for their locality.
2. Continuous mass awareness programs in city’s interior or old city areas.
3. Shut down all small or big factories making polythene bags but open some better options for them.
4. Give adequate resources and support to those who make paper or jute bags
5. Appoint 2-3 teachers from every private and government schools who can conduct weekly sessions, seminars and workshops on environment in their schools.
6. Appoint shopkeepers as volunteers of their area or tourist spot.
7. Give recognitions to all volunteer or fine them for their negligence.
These points might help in changing the habits of people but still it is not a permanent solution. The government, either state or central should come with a better strategy and more strict laws on all those companies whose products are coming in a small sachets or plastic packaging like food, toiletries, tobacco, beverages, medicine and sanitary items.
Lastly, we need to find another alternative of plastic because it is not a question of any individual but a whole human society which might vanish in coming hundreds or thousands of years due to environmental imbalance.
Removing plastic is a first step towards a better life pattern which we left back. Today we are thankful to our forefathers but how we will save ourselves from the curse of our coming generation?
It’s a real time to wake up!