New Delhi, September 12:
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to eliminate single-use plastic, the government is looking to find alternatives to plastic water bottles on a priority basis.
Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan asked manufacturers of packaged drinking water, like Pepsi and Coca Cola, to come up with alternative packaging in the next three days as he favoured a ban on plastics because of its health and environmental impact.
"Plastic has a big role to play in damaging environment as well as health of human beings and animals. We have seen reports of huge quantity of plastics found in stomach of cow," the minister told reporters.
The government believes since access to water is a fundamental right, a ban cannot be imposed on the sale of water. Therefore, finding an alternative solution to plastic water bottles is necessary.
The government wants to get rid of the different sized bottles used for packaged water as well as sealed plastic glasses (filled with water) in a phased manner.
So, here are some alternatives that can be used:
Despite being a fragile material, glass can be considered as a viable option. Moreover, it is recyclable and can keep the water cool for a longer time as compared to plastic bottles.
Paper Bottles or Tetra Packs:
Though having a shorter life-span tetra-packs can also used for packaging drinking water. They are light weight and can be easily recycled.
Stainless steel bottles can alos be a good alternative for plastic bottles. Metal is a natural temperature conductor, so if it takes on something cold, it will keep it cold, and if its contents are hot, they will stay hot.
A line of biodegradable or plant based products are in trend now and can be considered as an alternative for plastic as it is Eco-friendly as well. They are safe and paves way for sustainable living.
Another option which can be considered is bioplastic, or biopolymer, called liquid wood. Biopolymers look like plastic but they are 100% biodegradable.
India generates approximately 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste daily, which makes it the 15th largest plastic waste generator globally.
A 2018 report by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) states that plastic accounts for 8 per cent of the total solid waste generated in the country annually.
Citing data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the report states that Delhi produces the largest chunk of the plastic waste, followed by Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
The Prime Minister had on August 15 called for a nationwide movement to put an end to single-use plastic from October 2, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Modi first made the appeal during his Independence Day speech and exhorted the nation to turn it into a mass movement.
Recently, the Lok Sabha secretariat prohibited the use of non-reusable plastic water bottles and other plastic items within the Parliament from August 20.
The government-run Indian Railways has also decided to put a ban on single-use plastic materials on its premises, including trains from October 2.
News24 Bureau with Agencies
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