Residents from across Gurgaon — and elsewhere — joined hands to stand up against the use of single-use food and beverage packaging and use-and-throw cutlery, two major sources of plastic pollution.
Just a day ago, a young sperm whale washed up on a beach in southern Spain. What had killed this magnificent sea creature? Waste — 64 pounds of it, and mostly plastic.
These are no longer isolated events.
Residents from across Gurgaon — and even from Delhi and NCR — gathered for a citizens’ outreach campaign today against the global threat of plastic waste, especially single-use food and beverage packaging. Their war cry: “We want to be part of the solution, not pollution”.
The residents came together under the banner of city-based social group ‘Citizens for Clean Air’.
Separate groups fanned out to different locations and spoke to owners and staff of food outlets, speaking on the need to serve food in reusable utensils. A campaign is already afoot against leading fast-food outlets for churning out colossal plastic waste throughout the year.
A recent World Bank report projected that the amount of solid waste generated globally will nearly double by 2025, from 3.5 million tons to 6 million tonnes per day.
According to the members, single-use food and beverage packaging is the main source of plastic pollution globally. A huge volume of plastic waste floats on oceans and are a threat to the health of both humans and sea animals, and through marine life, micro-plastic enters our food chain and pose a health risk for us, they further explained.
Residents said meals and beverages in restaurants, bars, canteens and other food outlets should always be served in reusable dishes, and not use single-use Styrofoam plates.
“It’s a matter of grave concern, seeing leading eateries use single-use plastic plates, bowls, cutlery and glasses for serving food to its in-house dining customers in Delhi-NCR. Gurgaon already has a landfill site and is hostage to the rampant practice of open dumping and burning of waste in air-polluting incinerators,” Ruchika Sethi Takkar, a key member of the group and a social activist, said.
The group members said that the situation is further aggravated by improper waste collection and management practices in all developing countries, thereby leading to the release of toxic emissions and higher PM 2.5 levels.
“As concerned citizens of the city we are primarily seeking wholehearted cooperation from food-and-beverage outlets to replace the single-use plastic, styrofoam or paper disposables currently used for in-house cafe/dining and replace it with and reusable dinnerware,” Takkar said.
Nina Gupta, another member of the residents’ group, added, “If the waste isn’t handled properly, millions of plastic fragments will enter the marine food chain, disrupting marine ecosystems — and us!"
The authorities said they are aware of the campaign and are happy that residents are taking up pertinent issues head on. “I am delighted to see the resident-driven campaigns for reducing waste and we are ready to support them. I will meet them next week to discuss how we can help them in reducing the city’s waste,” Yashpal Yadav, MCG commissioner, assured.