Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The new plastic currency

Photo credit: BBC
We all know the harmful environmental effects of plastic. For quite a few years there has been a campaign, the world over, to dissuade people from using plastic, especially those single-use ones that we use and throw.

Five Ways That Plastics Harm The Environment (And One Way They May Help) - Forbes

Recently, in India, the campaign got a fillip when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on October 2, the 150th birth anniversary, exhorted the people to put to practice the idea of reducing the use of plastic.

Actually, there was a plan to ban altogether single-use plastic, but that was altered and the government has been urging people to consciously reduce. One of the reasons being spoken of is that a total ban would be too disruptive a step for the fragile economy (Report in The Print).


Photo credit: Indian Express
Last week, the whole proposition got on to the centre stage when the Prime Minister released a video of him picking up plastic waste (BBC report) from the beach in Mamallapuram (in Tamil Nadu state in South India) on October 12. (The PM was in Mamallapuram for an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.)

It is a different matter that the video prompted the appearance of a misleading collage of photos -- which were called out by the media -- suggesting that the Prime Minister's act was a carefully stage-managed publicity stunt. (How the media busted the wrong sequence of photos)


There is no doubt that the campaign has been having quite an effect. None of the stores in my neighbourhood pack products for customers in plastic. They have a board at the entrance urging shoppers to bring their own bag.

To discourage people from throwing away plastic, recently many institutions launched various programmes, including one under which people could swap plastic material with something useful -- plastic becoming a new currency of sorts!

Here are some news items that appeared in the last few weeks:

  • Metro commuters in Noida and the general public can deposit 20 plastic bags (of size 6” x 10”) or 10 plastic bottles (of 1-litre capacity) at any designated metro stations and get one jute Bag in return. (The Quint)
  • A Garbage Cafe has come up in Chhattisgarh state which provides food in exchange for plastic waste. (DNA)
  • Railway passengers with plastic carry bags arriving at the Hubballi Railway Station were in for a surprise on Thursday as a group of women approached them and gave them cloth bags with an appeal to say no to plastic. (The Hindu)
  • Traders in Pune are providing cloth bags for free if they give 1 kg of polythene bags or plastic to a retailer for recycling. (Pune Mirror)
  • There is a Facebook page by activists in Andhra Pradesh that is pioneering efforts to collect plastic and distribute food. (Deccan Herald)

    Abroad too ...
  • Italy's capital Rome (where rubbish has become an unmanageable problem) is offering travellers a way to exchange their waste plastic bottles for tickets on its public transport system. (Euronews)
  • Bayanan village in Muntinlupa City in the Philippines launched a program in September to improve waste management by letting residents exchange their plastic trash for a kilogram (2.2 lb) of rice. (Vice)


  1. I loved the title of this and how people are coming up with interesting ways of reducing plastic waste. It's absolutely a problem and I think it's great that it's now getting the political attention it needs. #MLSTL

  2. Like banning single-use plastic bags, I feel the Govt. should also ban single-use plastic bottles - mainly used to pack water, soft drinks, etc. People can always carry their own bottles to vending machines and fill up water, soft drinks, etc. In fact, people should carry water bottles wherever they go - it's imp. to drink water frequently to maintain good health.

    Destination Infinity

  3. We got so used to convenience that now it's hard to go back to a system where it's not single use everything. But we can get there.

  4. The fishing line that gets dumped into the ocean by fishers is a bigger worry than plastic bags and the like. Plus there's all the disabled people who really need to use disposable things. I'm in favor of reducing use of plastic whenever I can, I just know that can't be true for everyone.

  5. This is such a huge area of concern - especially when you see the problems plastic waste causes in the oceans. Australia has banned single use plastic bags and encourages people to bring their own bags (they still sell a different type of sturdier plastic bag for those who forget - but hopefully that will gradually phase out too). There is always a negative reaction when people have to give up something that makes their life easier, but we adapt and the world needs to make some big changes or we'll have no environment left to care for.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I've shared on my SM :)

  6. Thank you for a very topical and useful article.

  7. Every small step adds up, so it's appreciated when folks get up and take action instead of panic. Thank you for this uplifting post. Meanwhile, we have to watch who we trust for news like never before. Crazy. Be well!

  8. Important issue that I've blogged about many times. Here in the US southwest where I live and work, many people are still using throw away plastic bags. One or two supermarkets including Natural Grocers has voluntarily stopped packing food in plastic bags. If people don't bring a reusable bag, the store supplies a carton. Target gives a 5 cent reward for each reusable bag you use to shop with. There are no federal mandates, even though pollution and climate change situation is getting critical. Hope people wake up before it’s too late to save our precious environment. Will share on SM. Be well and thanks for posting on #MLSTL.


  9. -- Hi Jo:
    Thank you for dropping by and for the comments. Yes, I can see people are consciously reducing the use of plastic.

    -- Hi Rajesh:
    Yes, not just bags but bottles too. Many of these bags and bottles can be reused quite a few times. But many people tend to throw them away after the first use.

    -- Hi Liz:
    Indeed, not easy to break free from the habit. But like you rightly said, over time we should be able to create the awareness and reduce substantially the use of plastic.

    -- Hi Oneil:
    That's a good point about fishing line. Banning plastic altogether might not be practical at all. Like you said reducing and avoiding the use of plastic would be a good step forward.

    -- Hi Leanne:
    Yes, it's easy to give up something we are used to. You are right that unless we make changes to our lifestyle, there won't an environment to take care of.

    Hi KP:
    Thank you.

    Hi Darla:
    Thanks for the comments.
    You are spot on -- today there is so much misinformation and disinformation that is doing the rounds, we can't believe everything we read and hear.

    Hi Nancy:
    Thank you so much for dropping by and for your informative comments. This is worldwide problem. Glad to know that efforts are afoot to tackle the menace and that they are yielding results, slowly but surely.

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  12. Hi Pradeep - yes thankfully people are starting to take plastic seriously ... still a long way to go. I see initiatives being set up with extraordinary ideas to get round the plastic problem ... I do hope we manage it ... cheers Hilary

  13. Who is Narendra Modi ?

    He is a Hindoo PM who is an illiterate and a son of a Ayah and he himself was a Tea seller on a rail platform

    Besides, he is a Gujarati – who are also called Bastards in the Mahabharata ! dindooohindoo

    The Mahabharata , Book 8: Karna Parva ,Section 45

    The Pancalas observe the duties enjoined in the Vedas; the Kauravas observe truth; the Matsyas and the Surasenas perform sacrifices, the Easterners follow the practices of the Shudras; the Southerners are fallen; the Vahikas are thieves; the Saurashtras are bastards.

    The Gujaratis are also termed as a race of Miscegnation – in the Mahabharata ! That word refers to those born of unnatural sex ! Gujaratis are a Bastard race ! They swap wives ! And they do it openly and ADVERTISE IT OPENLY !

    The Dindoo Hindoo Bindoo PM of India - Narendra Modi, is a Dindoo from the "lowest community of oilmen" (as per the Dindoo caste system) and is considered "the discharge,id.est., the sperm or the menstrual fluid" of Mlecchas (who are also considered scum) dindooohindoo

    The Mahabharata, Book 8: Karna Parva: Section 45

     The mlecchas are the dirt of mankind: the "oilmen are the dirt of the Mlecchas"; eunuchs are the dirt of oilmen; they who avail of the priestly ministrations of Kshatriyas, in their sacrifices, are the dirt of eunuchs.

  14. Blunders are a way of life with Narendra Modi - the Tea Vendor PM Of India - whose mother Was a dishwasher.He correlates his mother with Ho Chi Minh who was a dishwasher in London.

    Throughout Indian History - when men w/o pedigree,have ruled over India - they have destroyed India immediately thereafter.They all thought they were special,and from the grass roots.This is a apocalyptic trait peculiar to Hindoos.dindooohindoo

    To hide over the "shame of their birth and upbringing" and the "vicious physical and mental torture" as children - they "gravitate to extreme forms of menial thought and cruelty" - ignoring all sage counsel - as they feel it is a sign of courage and fortitude,in the face of adversity and pressures (Like the Kashmir disaster).

    The Blunders of the Chaiwala - which you will not read in the media - as the media is owned by Banias and operated by Brahmins - a race of servile slaves and cowards.

    The Chronicles of Narendra (Narnia Chaiwala) Modi

    Make in India = Total Disaster. The man has destroyed the atchitecture of manufacturing.It is no surprise - as Rama used apes to make a bridge to Lanka.Rama knew the worth of Indians
    Exports from India = Total Disaster.So long as PRC exists - and the sea exists (with the commercial principles of Archimedes,for a ship), there is nothing which an Indian can make - which cannot be sold faster,cheaper,better and at a better quality by the PRC.The PRC conquered India 2000 years ago - via the Yueh Chi Tribe (who were kicked out of Imperial China).Indians excel only in making and cleaning toilets - which unfortunately cannot be exported - as Bill
    Gates is making tolets in Africa
    Defense Manufacturing in India = Total Disaster.Pakistan is exporting JF to East Asia and West Asia and Africa and has got orders from Malaysia - and the Hindoos are still struggling to make the Arjuna - MBT .Arjuna was a impotent,coward and a eunuch - as per the Mahabharata ! Touche ! Arjuna - was "cursed by Urvashi ",to be an "impotent and a eunuch"
    The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Indralokagamana Parva: Section XLVI
    O Partha, thou shalt have to pass thy time among females unregarded, and as a dancer, and "destitute of manhood and scorned as a eunuch
    Demonetisation = Total Disaster.The man has wiped out the SME sector FOREVER.That was the aim.The Ego Trip was to Monetise the Grey economy (to bull shit at G-7,via a higher GDP,and to shift the unorganised sector to Ambani and Company)
    GST = Disaster for SME and Unorganised sector.The man has wiped out the SME sector FOREVER.Now the scams will start
    Space = Disaster.ISRO Chandrayaan has doomed all hopes.The problem of the Hindoo - 1 low brain ASAT hit and they start dreaming and jay walking.All the effect of Gau Maut-ram
    Employment = Disaster.Destruction of all SME and Unorganised Jobs - FOREVER.
    IAF = Disaster.IAF completely destroyed by the PAF.The IAF took the advice of Modi.They did not send the best fighter jets against the PAF - Why ? How did 6 PAF - F-16s cross the Indian ADS (in daylight) and almost kill the Indian Army Chief and GOC-in-C Northern Command (and all escaped the ADS on the way back
    and the ADS shit down its own Chopper)
    Banking = Doomed.NPA is at least 400 Billion USD in the organised sector - RBI is defrauding the nation by hiding and lying.MUDRA loans are 150 Billion USD of which at least 40% will disappear.Then there is the informal banking disaster (NBFC/Chit Funds etc.).It

  15. I said it from the start, banning plastic isn't a solution, at least not until the mindset of people have evolved. It's not the plastic consumption that is the issue to begin with, it how people consume in general.

    We live in a culture of mass consumerism, single use convenience, and little thought about what convenience cost to the world.
    Switching to everything glass is as harmful as plastic since this will increase the consumption of fuel to trasport goods stored in glass.

    A middle ground must be found, I don't need to have all my vegetables come in layer of plastic, I sincerely wished that more stores that sell loose pantry staples would come, so I could bring my own containers to fill.
    But if a locally made chutney comes in a plastic jar, I'll still choose that one over the fancy one that comes from out of State, or worse from abroad but is in a glass jar.

    I also appreciate the effort of local communities to make a move to recycle plastic, in our society we have a bi-monthly pick up of everything plastic, so I wash and collect the dahi pots, plastic pouches, and other packaging made of any type of plastic separately as they will be sent to a recycling center.

    All in all, I think people need to re-think how they consume in general. For example, do we really need to get that Starbucks coffee to go? Do we really have no time to sit down for 10 minutes and enjoy that coffee in house in a ceramic mug? People argue the to-go cups are paper, but they are still lined with plastic, and this is still single use containers that might not be as necessary to have in the first place.
    I also started thinking about how I go about take out food. There are days I really really am too tired to cook or go anywhere, those days are take-out days, and I try to go for food I know will come in a cardboard box, like a pizza. If I just am looking for a change of food, or a treat, I grab my keys and purse and go to a small cafe or restaurant and eat there.

    I'm yet to have ever been in a situation I needed to order a to-go coffee, but if they day comes, I'll plan and take my travel cup, as I got one free from Starbucks a couple of years ago.

    In my home, a lot of the plastic tupperware containers I bought 5-6 years ago are now breaking down and probably no longer food grade, so we sent them for recycling and decided to buy glass containers with a plastic lid to replace them. The next tooth brushes we will buy are going to be bamboo. We did away with the cling film and replaced it with beeswax wraps.

    I think this kind of slow phasing out plastic is going to work much better than falling into another extreme, banning something and pushing people to overconsume something else.

  16. By seeing the title I wondered what would be the upshot of reducing or preventing plastic use if the currency is going to be printed in plastic material. The title is indeed cleverly chosen and apposite-obtaining things at the cost of plastic items. Reg.N.Modi's blog, whatever is done by the rulers especially by N.Modi, a ruckus arises and that has become customary now.A nice read.Pradeep.