Interview : AOR Mr. Kundan Mishra : Plastics : Issues Challenges and Remediation.

Mr. Kundan Mishra

Advocate_on_Record of Supreme Court of India. He had completed his LLB from Campus Law Centre in 2004 and appeared for Bihar Judicial services and cracked it as one among top ranks but due to his love and passion towards practicing Law, he left that and started practicing with his elder brother in Patna High court. Later on, in 2007 he moved to Delhi and joined Tis Hazari court and later on he started to get cases of High court and Supreme Court. Finally in December 2010 he became Advocate on Record of Supreme Court. He is now Partner at Kundan Mishra and Satya Mishra  Law offfices Delhi. He is a Member of The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple England and dealt lot of cases in Tribunals there. He had also worked as attorney of Law in Republic of Seychelles and he has joined Bar of Republic of Seychelles. His favourite Subject is Comparative Constitutional Law and Comparative Commercial Law.

Today we are talking with him on topic of plastic ban and issues related to plastic as he is representing many major and minor plastic associations and manufacturers association across the country.

Question 1. Sir, do you think people can survive without using plastics in their daily life? As one million Plastics bags and bottles etc are used every minute?

 

Answer: See it’s not about whether we survive with or without any particular thing or not. It’s about putting to use a branch of science in its most effective way and in such a way that development and environment go hand in hand. See, plastic has a beauty of recycling and it can be used multiple number of times. The best solution and rather only correct solution is waste management. The part of same is concept of 3 R i.e. Reduce its use, Re-use and at the end Recycle it. Banning plastic is not a solution and can never be but re-use and recycling is, and yes plastic has become integral part of daily life which cannot be denied.

If plastic bags or other products are re-used and recycled, then they are environmentally preferable to all other bags including paper bags and cotton bags which have their own very taxing environmental ramifications. Plastic bags are actually the most environmentally friendly option so long as they are re-used and recycled.  The reason why most people believe that plastic bags are the worst option for the environment is because they are not properly aware about the science of plastics. Science do not claim that cotton, paper and biodegradable bags are more environmentally friendly than plastic bags; you can use life cycle analysis approach and you can compare very easily to find out the ecological foot prints of all products. In fact, Ministry of Environment and forest has kept plastic industries in the green category of industries and you can see that pulp and paper has been kept into red category industries. Jute and cotton are also not kept within green category and are kept in Orange category. It all shows that ecologically nothing is wrong with science of plastics and the issue is its management as per the Laws and Rules i.e. Environment Protection Act 1986 and Rules framed there under e.g. Solid waste Management Rules 2016 and Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 etc.

We can see that there is a sharp rise in the use of plastics in last few years. This is because plastic is a good competitive material against metal or paper or jute or cotton. The specialty of plastics is, they are lighter and cheaper and fits into demand of modern life in variety of ways. This is the reason why plastics are preferred by a number of people in their daily lives.

Question 2. Sir, then how we can keep plastics out of our ocean as well as from wildlife? As 13 million tones of plastic end up in the oceans?

Answer: Plastics can be kept away from the ocean as well as from wildlife only when people will get aware and follow the basic tenets of civility and don’t litter it: Indiscriminate littering is the only problem and checking the same is only option and solution. What can be done is that: –

  1. Reduce Use of Plastics:
    Wherever you live, the easiest and most direct way that you can get started is by reducing your own use of plastics. Single-use plastics; that are used once and then discarded has to be properly collected and not to be littered.

The best way to do this is by: a) Reducing and not prohibiting use of any single-use plastics that you do not need (e.g. straws, sachet, and b) purchasing, and carrying with you, reusable versions of those products, including reusable grocery bags, produce bags, bottles, utensils, coffee cups, and dry cleaning garment bags. And when you reduce single-use plastic items and don’t litter it and develop a mechanism to collection of it , then ocean and forests can be prevented from plastics. See, we have to understand that the beauty of the science of plastics is its durability and let don’t turn its beauty into curse just by indiscriminately littering it.

  1. Re-use it: The second leg of solution lies into re-using it which obviously means not to littering the products. And then

3. Recycle Properly:
When you use single-use plastics that can be recycled, always be sure to recycle them. At present huge proportion of plastic is not recycled and some studies claims that , just 9% of plastic is recycled worldwide, Which is really a big issue.Recycling helps keep plastics out of the ocean and reduces the amount of “new” plastic in circulation. And in-fact recycling is necessary for not just plastic products but all kind of wastes generated by the human of whatever material it is made up of.

Question 3. Sir,Is plastic waste the next global environmental crisis?

Answer: Any municipal waste which is not properly managed is actually a crisis.Plastics are useful materials with many clear benefits coming from its lightness and from being them chemically inert; they can be flexible or rigid; transparent, translucent or opaque, and can be manufactured in any form or shape, can be used in any kind of environmental/ climatic circumstances. They are widely used in areas like food and beverage packaging and in all kinds of everyday products and appliances. Obviously if it is not managed it will surely take a form of crisis as it is a durable product which does not vanish on its own and it lasts.

Once the plastic waste —bags, bottles, packaging, etc. – enters into the sea, it undergoes decades of photodegradation and other weathering processes which ends up with its decomposition into microplastics and that is obviously we don’t want, and it can be stopped by taking recourse to a very simplest thing i.e. DON’T LITTER, COLLECT IT AND RECYCLE IT AND USE IT MANY NUMBERS OF TIMES,

These Large chunks of plastics which are left littered actually is bad news for sea creatures( and also for wildlife), which aren’t used to them. In the pursuit of their food many times, accidently, sea animals consume plastics in different forms which are harmful for them and due to which marine life is severally affecting but this can only be reduced when people stop littering in their daily life and as plastic can be used multiple number of times,by putting it to re-use in suggested and prescribed ways.

Question 4. Sir,Don’t you think that plastic can impact on human health?

Answer:See, we have to understand the science of Plastics. We know that plastics is simple poly mers of carbon and Hydrogen. It is chemically inert and has no effect on human health at all and thus it is completely an injustice with this branch of science to address it as HAZARDOUS MATERIAL. It is not.It will impact the human health when plastic is burnt or not disposed of or managed within the parameters prescribed under the Waste management Rules.But then we have to understand that the burning is strictly prohibited under laws and activity of burning is breach of law and not compliance of laws and therefore what is prohibited is burning of waste and not the product itself.

Question 5. Sir, What can be the solutions to reduce Plastic Pollution?

Answer: Solutions to reduce Plastic Pollution are:

  1. Reduce Your Use of Plastics
    Wherever you stay, the easiest and most direct way that you can get started with is by reducing your own use of plastics.

The best way to do this is by :

  1. Don’t use if you don’t need and re-use any product of plastics which can be used and recycle it after its use and
  2. Must opt for two bins culture at your home and start segregating wastes into recyclable and non-recyclable categories. That will go long way in effective waste management of all kind of wastes and not just plastic wastes.
  3. purchasing, and carrying with you, reusable versions of those products, including reusable grocery bags, produce bags, bottles, utensils, coffee cups, and dry cleaning garment bags.
  4. Recycle Properly:
    This should go without saying, always be sure to recycle them. Recycling helps keep plastics out of the ecology and reduces the amount of “new” plastic in circulation.

Hence, Plastic can be reduced from environment and very easily can be effectively managed but banning plastic cannot be a solution.

Thankyou Sir!!

By : Ms. Muskan yadav

 

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