Ban on plastic flags

August 2, 2006

The independence day is less than a fortnight away. In a few days, you will see small boys and girls selling plastic flags at every traffic signal. And on the independence day, most autorickshaws, scooters, cars and bikes will have a plastic tri-colour stuck to the mirror or glass window.

The flag produced in plastic is an anti-thesis of the values that it stands for. A campaign to ban plastic national flags could be a richly symbolic starting point of a wider debate on related issues – of modernity, nationalism, and development. Our national flag is a symbol of the nation’s philosophy: self- reliance, freedom, resistance against imperialism, purity, non- violence, inter-connectedness. The natural fibres woven together represent the merging of cultures, identities, skills and perceptions. The flag in plastic is a perfect symbol of the inauthenticity of our times. The harmful material, the mass manufacture, the marketing of “love for the country”, all of it is like a confession of the nation’s guilt.

For glorifying any big political event, such as welcoming visiting leaders, political parties tie a large number of plastic flags on threads across major roads and traffic circles. The event over, these flags, made of a thin plastic film, become useless and find their way to dustbins, thus adding to an already alarming level of plastic pollution.

The increasing amount of non-biodegradable plastic in the soil has caused a hindrance to percolation of water. Plastic must be banned before it leads to further damage. The disposal of waste plastic is the most common problem faced by many industries, shops and houses. People must therefore segregate the waste material before dumping them into garbage bins, to help make the clearing process easier. This man-made ‘nuisance’ called plastic, has to be eradicated. Children must be made aware of the harmful effects of plastic waste and discourage them from plastic usage.

Unfortunately, nobody defines patriotism to mean caring about people’s basic needs.

7 Responses to “Ban on plastic flags”

  1. usha Says:

    True Bellur 😦

    Banning of plastic usage druing elections for posters, cutouts, pamplets,banners etc was also in place… unfortunately the authorities of BMP and others seem to live in ignorance with regard to these hazardous material usage ,

    These public too continue to create a menace in public place, by buying these plastic flags, plastic items etc knowing plastic is unperishable. Heights of patriotism.

    Another concern is of hazordous colour powders and Gulal used during Holi creating skin allergies, stains on the road, which takes years to was wash out. Not to mention Ganesha /Durga idol’s colours, chemicals disposal and creating pollution in water beds.. Further chetharskolo hottige Noise and Air pollution of firecrackers during deepavalai and cricket match win agidh khushige… Endee illwa nam maudhyakke ….?????

  2. Gangadhar Says:

    The challenge is to modify the public behaviour so as not to litter and encourage where possible re-use (e.g. as garbage bag) prior to either controlled disposal or – preferably- energy recovery. Other possibilities include encouraging the use of stronger re-usable bags which are replaced free of charge after the first purchase, thereby facilitating collection for mechanical recycling. Bans on plastic bags will not solve the general problem of litter. In addition, bans may lead to the introduction of other materials which have overall a more negative impact on the environment eg. Deforestation for paper products. Lot of other factors are responsible for drainage problems. In age of plastic money & plastic computer how far can we stay away from plastics. Only solution is awareness through education & not elimination.

  3. rk Says:

    Yes, Gulal, along with plastics are equally hazardous. And not to forget the smoke from the crackers. Kaala kulagett hoythu antharalla, adhakke idhena EXAMPALLU?

    Modifying public behaviour is not so easy. Ok, you are saying that the question is not, “Plastics: good or bad?” Often the question is “How can we replace bad plastics with better ones?”

    But I read somewhere that at every step in the production of plastics, hazardous substances are used and hazardous wastes are produced. When plastics are disposed of in incinerators, more hazardous wastes are produced. If we are truly concerned about limiting our exposure to hazardous and toxic wastes, then we must take on the plastics industry. For the plastics industry is a major, if not the largest, source of the hazardous wastes entering our environment. The promise of recycling plastics keeps this hazardous waste industry alive. PVC can’t be recycled economically. Many other plastics can’t be recycled., and even when they can, the one sure product being recycled is hazardous waste. 😦

    And that’s pretty bad, isn’t it?

  4. travel plaza Says:

    RK, A very powerful write up. Plastics being cheaper and virtually indestructable have made them very popular for every household and commercial need. A very radical change in thinking of every individual is necessary to combat the probem.

  5. rk Says:

    TP: 😛
    Many shops here tell the customers to bring their own reusable cloth bags to the store to carry home groceries.
    I told a friend at a store, “Just say no to plastics.” And he said,”This might be as difficult as a drug addict having to just say no to drugs.”

  6. Ramz Says:

    it is truly disheartening to see that parents buy their kids these plastic flags as if they are buying some toys . It is indeed the duty of parents to educate their children about the importance and value associated with a National Flag, I feel that first step towards that, is to stop buying those plastic flags and thereby avoid littering of those flags just after the independence day

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