Dec 18, 2011

The Plastic Revolution

"It will charge you an additional 5 Rs, is that fine?", the billing counter executive at the Scullers showroom politely asked me. It's a question I received quite a number of times over the past 2 months.This marks a change in another trend: Usage of plastic-made bags in India.

I have witnessed angry customer faces whenever we charged them for carry bags in my Dad's grocery shop. This happened when I was in Class X, which is around 10 years back. No one would bother if we add a rupee or two in a commodity but show up a crooked face when we charge 50 paise for it.

The idea of taking along a bag for shopping never seemed like a nice one to many. Movements from many organizations on Environment care, Green revolution have created a deep impact. From now on, when you walk into any retail store or super market, either branded or unbranded showroom, you are likely to be charged for the bags you are going to carry.

I would definitely welcome this move. Plastics are one of the major factors when it comes to ruining the environment. If we already know what is it that we are going to buy, then it makes sense to carry an appropriate bag. I have noticed many who drive to super market in their car, shop everything with a trolley, and finally move everything in the trolley to their car. No bags used!

There have been many statements of intent from the government on this subject but it was not considered with any bit of seriousness. Bangladesh was the first country to ban plastic bags in 2002. Denmark and Ireland have both experimented with taxing plastic bags. Dublin said the tax, imposed in 2002, had reduced usage by more than 95%. But here in India, the govt. keeps issuing statements, right from 1999 but I don’t see it happening anywhere. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (it’s here) introduced a new rule such as charging the customer who opt for carry bags. The intent behind charging the customer is to encourage them bring bags next time. Let’s hope everyone approaches it with a positive frame of mind, and aspire for a cleaner planet.

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