What is single-use plastic?
Single-use plastic refers to plastic products that are used once and discarded. Single-use plastic has among the highest shares of plastic manufactured. They have become a part of our lives because of their convenient features.
Which are the single use plastic products that are banned by CPCB?
The single-use products banned by CPCB(Central Pollution Control Board) include
Earbuds with a plastic stick; balloon sticks; candy and ice-cream sticks; cutlery items including plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, trays; packing films around invitation cards, cigarette packs, and sweet boxes; PVC banners measuring under 100 microns and polystyrene for decoration.
Why are these items banned?
Earbuds with a plastic stick – When they land up in the ocean and landfills,
creating plastic havoc on the environment, marine species are more affected by these small pieces of plastics. Sea birds get killed by plastic pollution. It is believed that 700 species could go extinct because of this plastic activities. .
Shockingly, around 267 species worldwide have been affected, 84% sea turtles, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine animals. This is caused as the marine animals assume the earbuds as food which leads to serious health issues and causes shocking hazards. Switching to bamboo earbuds is the ideal solution.
Balloon , Candy, Ice cream sticks -- these items are banned as they are difficult to collect, especially since most are either small, or discarded directly into the environment. It then becomes difficult to segregate for recycling, unlike the much larger items. And when plastic remains in the environment for long periods and does not decay, it turns into micro plastics – first entering our food sources and then the human body, which is extremely harmful.
Cutlery - This move would help to reduce litter and cut the amount of plastic waste in oceans. On average, each person uses 18 single-use plastic plates and 37 single-use plastic items of cutlery every year, according to government figures. We are really facing an environmental crisis, our oceans are full of plastic, and they're killing marine life, they are damaging our eco-systems and they are actually threatening human health.
Packing film around Cigarette packs - Smoker who smoke on a daily basis pollute the Earth and themselves before they can realize. And the cigarette packs that are packed with thin films hurts the environment by getting lost somewhere. Hence banned. Cigarette makers might have to shift from regular plastic wrapping to environment-friendly biodegradable wrapping for cigarette packs.
PVC banners - Flex material made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has been banned in, with the view of health and environmental issues it causes. Cloth, paper and poly ethylene material which can be recycled should be used instead.
Polystyrene - Expanded polystyrene materials are difficult to recycle, and it’s expensive because they are not readily recyclable, the materials end up in landfills, waste-to-energy facilities, or the environment. EPS materials are extremely brittle and break easily into tiny pieces. These small pieces scatter in the wind and contaminate the environment.
Plastic Flags - Plastic flags are used on the day of celebrations and littered.. These national flags when seen in dustbins, on the roads or on the landfills, it really hurts the patriotic feelings and the thin plastic also disturbs our eco-system by living on the earth for years without biodegrading. Switching to paper flags or seed paper flags could be a great alternative.
Single use carry bags - Single use carry bags are thin plastics and are used just once. Very convenient yet, problematic. Thin plastics lying on the ground is harmful as they contaminate soil and water bodies. Switch to reusable bags which can be washed and reused as many times as possible.
These were the single-use products and the reasons why they are banned. Hope these bans help make our Earth a better and healthy place to live in, but that will be only possible if we put them into effect and try our best to avoid using plastic products.