“Bhaiya, ek bada bag de dena,ye to fat jayega”(Bhaiya, a bigger bag please, this one may get torn easily.)– I noticed a duck-faced girl reminding me of Nargis Fakhri purchasing potatoes on a grocery shop where I was buying onions to prepare chicken curry this Sunday.
“ye lo, madam ji!!” (Here it’s yours, madam!!)- said the grocerywalah. I saw her handling a half empty jute bag which carried almost nothing but a newspaper.
He pulled out a bigger polythene bag and handed that over to her. It was a not a thin polybag, and since she had a polybag already, she was just trying to make a support to the potatoes bought.
I was nevertheless not concerned with her, but the situation made me request her: Mam, aapke paas to ek bag hai hi..usi me rakh leti aaloo ko! (Mam, you already having a bag, right? Why don’t you keep your potatoes in that only?)
There came a moment of silence, and I was poker-faced when she gave me a “Who the f**k you are to advise me my business”-look and reverted, “kyun? kya hai isme?” (Why? What’s the problem behind?)
I smiled and said,”Mam, polybags hamare liye thik nahi hai, aapko pata hai isko recycle kaise karte hain?”(Mam, polybags are not good for us, do you know how to recycle it?) She exclaimed thinking me a crazy lad, “recycle..kya??” (What..recycle?). I noticed a strange look in her eyes, and thought she could be recognizing me as a vagabond , i said..it’s ok mam, sorry!! and she traced her way giving me again a “to hell with you, boy!”– look. The grocerywalah who was watching this 35 second drama, turned back to me and said, “kitna pyaz, bhaiya?”(How much Onions, bro?)
When i was segregating fresh onions, he told me, “bhaiya, ye sab to band ho chuka tha, lekin sab chalta hai…koi apna jhola nahi lata”. (Bro, these (polybags) were banned earlier, but they are okay today..no one brings his own bag). I smiled at his remark and put the onions into the level-beam. He balanced the weight and pulled out a polybag again to put the onions inside when I immediately forbade him to give any because I already had a small cloth-bag in my pocket.
When I was handling him a 10 rupees note, I asked, “Bhai, agar ek baar mana kar doge to agli baar se ye khud apne bag lekar aaya karenge.” (Bro, if you say ‘no’ once, they will certainly bring their own bags by next time!!)
I witnessed similar incidents since last three weeks and came to a point that, there was hardly any shop left which used bags made with any material other than Polythene. May it be grocery shop, the hardware shop, the garment shop, the general store, the confectionary shop, the butcher shop, or even the medical store, all frequently give away polybags without even asking whether the customer can carry the things without it. I prevented my mind to kill myself when I saw an aunty in the neighbourhood bringing two lemons in a 2 kilos. polybag.
Anyway, those who are reading this, must not be surprised, this is very very much normal now a days. But, I don’t know why, it teases me a lot.
Chemically speaking, Polythene Bags(regionally known as Chimchimmi/Polothene (in Bihar), Chimki (in eastern Uttar Pradesh), plastic bag/polybag (in Delhi), not sure about other states :P) is a polymer of Ethene/Ethylene (Chemical formula forgotten, may be C2H6?? ;)) and a non-reducing substance on earth. I remember this statement from my Chemistry teacher when I was studying my 10th.
There is a word called “recycle”, and it makes sense a lot when it comes in context to our respected “Mother Earth”. Yes, I am talking about recycling of resources. Polythenes are harmful to the Earth and in turn to us. I don’t want to make a good deal of explanation about its deadliness. Making it shorter, let me summarize a few points which can make us a good denizen in true sense.
- Reuse polythenes to a great extent.
- Use cloth bags instead of asking a polybag anywhere. If posible, take a bigger bag sufficient enough to your requirements while making a move to the market for a shopping.
- Try saying “no”(to the polybag), when someone offers something in a polybag. Trust me, it’s super-effective.
- I am quoting a corporate store named “Reliance fresh” which boasts itself to be environment friendly, gives free netbas to carry grocery items. I must say, avoid those netbags, they again are more deadlier than a polybag. People use them in huge amount, and throw them in garbage after use. The plastic nets are well able to injure the internals of the body when an animal takes it inside being unaware of the consequences.
- Before throwing a polybag, think once, is it really necessary to throw it, or can it be used once again.? I am 95% sure, you will get an answer positive, yes you can use it again. Go for saving it next time you go to purchase something, use the same instead asking for a new one. If you do this, I thank you for taking a step towards your mother’s care.
- My mom uses useless polythenes to make door-mats. She cuts the polythenes into stripes and knits them like woolen cloth appending them one by one. I remember from my childhood that, an aunty used to create hand-fans out of thick polybags. That was commendable. There can be several other usages as well, if you know any, do post.
- Coming over to another resource called paper: Adding to the earth’s care, we must not waste paper as well. Take double-sided print-outs when necessary. Don’t print Railway e-tickets, now they accept it to be in electronic form. Use notepad, only when required. Those who are well adapted to computers, keep it simple to note something, Start->Run->Notepad-> Write->Ctrl+s. I have been using a single notepad since Oct 18th. 2010, and it can still be seen inside my office bag having a few last pages empty.
- If your company provides you free notepads/papers, take it only when required in urgency, and use it thinking like you paid for it.
- Some stores give you free paper-bags to carry items. These are very very precious for us. Avoid using them as anything other than a writable or printable work.
- Paper cups, NO!! Paper tissues, NO!! I always see in my office cafetaria, people use both tissue papers and water to clean their hands after eating. Use only one, either water or paper. Just beacuse you are working with a corporate, doesn’t mean you forget all your homely culture.
- While using tissue papers, one is more than enough, why pulling more than one? Better, use your hankies instead!
Truly speaking, I also can’t make myself assured to follow all the items i wrote above, but yes, I understand and follow them 10 out of 11 times a day, in general.
I believe, everyone can make it more than me, i.e, 100%.
Role of the government: Shiela Dixit says that she wants to see New Delhi as pollution free. She appeals the citizens not to use polybags.
I hardly care this message and it’s of no worth. Better, we understand our own role, because if she really wanted Delhi to be pollution free, she could have eradicated this monster here several years ago.