Setting an inspiring example for everyone on World Environment Day, a family from Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district stopped using plastic bags years ago to do their bit for the environment. The family now encourage everyone to stop using these bags to beat plastic pollution.
Mahendra Bharadwaj works as a mechanic in Dantewada and earns about Rs 12,000 to feed his six family members. He noticed how the drain in front of his house kept getting clogged with polythene bags. Cleaning the clogged drain everyday was quite troublesome for him and his family. One day, he asked his son to search about the ill-effects of polythene bags online. On finding how these plastic bags add to environmental pollution, he decided to completely stop using them in his family.
"We took the decision four years ago after we saw the drains in our society being clogged up during rain," Mr Bharadwaj said.
The family initially faced a lot of problems in getting curd, milk, vegetables and other small household goods. Determined, the family replaced plastic bags with jute bags and started taking steel containers everywhere when buying other liquid goods.
Mr Bhardwaj encouraged his co-workers to stop using plastic bags and was pleased to see that 5-7 of them stopped using it completely.
Nearly one third of the plastic packaging used in the world escapes the collection systems and ends up clogging the city streets and polluting the natural environment. Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic leak into the oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates, the UN Environment body says.
Plastic also makes its way into the water supply - and thus into human bodies. Plastics contain a number of chemicals, many of which are toxic or disrupt hormones. Plastics can also serve as a magnet for other pollutants, including dioxins, metals and pesticides. This is increasing skin and breathing-related disorders.