Gargantuan, Mammoth, Galactical, and all such adjectives combined would not be sufficient enough to describe the magnitude of plastic pollution we human beings are facing. If we just put together the plastic waste produced by India in a single day, it sums up to 26000 tonnes of plastic as per an estimate of CPCB from the year 2012, and the worst part is even after producing so much plastic waste India comes on the 15th rank. This clearly means that there are 14 other countries which might be producing more plastic waste than India does.

Plastic, once hailed as a great invention for storing and packaging things, has permeated our lives to such an extent that it has now become a bane. The problem with plastic is obvious that it doesn’t decompose for hundreds of years and sometimes even a thousand years. Even its recycling won’t solve our problem, and recycling is not even close to a good solution as plastic can only be recycled at the most twice. Even the rate of recycling is a shocking 9%, 12% incinerated and the rest of 79% finds its way in the landfills or oceans.

The most disturbing fact is that every minute, yes every minute human beings are emptying one truckful of garbage in the oceans most of which is plastic. And it is estimated that by 2050 the weight of all the plastic in the ocean will be more than the weight of all the fishes in the ocean as per an estimate by Ellen MacArthur foundation. And don’t forget last year itself we saw plastic in such a place where even humans could not reach, surprising, isn't it? We can understand the extent of plastic pollution by the fact that the plastic bags like the kind given away at the grocery stores, were found at the deepest point of the world, Mariana trench which is at the depth of 11 kilometers. WWF’s Data suggest that about a million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic pollution annually. Every year we see the image of blue whales dying on the beaches around the world and there too plastic is a major contributor.

The biggest plastic mess comes from single use plastic, examples of which include plastic polythenes and bags, straws, pet bottles, coffee cups, cutleries and so on. An amazing fact about plastic is that the most used form of it is the most replaceable one also. How? In a year we are using a whopping 500 billion plastic bags, an equal number of plastic bottles and about 1 trillion plastic straws. These are the things which we can easily avoid consuming. A simple step could be to always carry a cloth bag, or carry the thing you purchase in the hand itself if possible. Similarly, one can carry a bottle of water or can drink from the nearest restaurant or water station. For carrying groceries like Rice, Wheat, Dal, Milk or other such home utilities we can use stainless steel dabbas. The change in the behaviour of an individual is the most important step towards the victory in our fight against plastic.

Talking about the steps that governments could take is that it can completely ban single use plastic in a phased manner, product by product. For reducing the number of plastic bottles the government can incentivize the setting up of filtered water stations, which can already be found in most of our railway stations. It needs to be implemented in a much wider manner. Government can help in setting up the cloth and paper bag industry, after massive distribution of such bags, governments can implement a blanket ban on plastic polythene. Governments can also regulate the responsibility of online delivery companies, as they are one of the greatest producers of plastic waste. They can be imposed with heavy penalties if they don’t pay heed to the government’s warning of not using plastic. And the biggest step that governments across countries could take is that they can use plastic in construction of road, "each kilometer of a single lane road could consume 1 tonne of plastic and the bonus thing is that it can double or even triple the life of road" says Isher Judge Ahluwalia, former head of a Government Committee on Urban Infrastructure. For the collection purposes, the governments can install plastic collection machines leading to an easier collection process. People then can simply put the plastic in their hand into the collection machine. The government can also provide its citizens with certain incentives to put plastic waste into machines.

At the end of the day, the government could be as strict as it wants but the success of any initiative absolutely depends upon the participation of the people of the country. The greatest example of this is Sikkim's town Lachen which has become plastic free because of the firm determination of its residents. In a similar manner, all the citizens around the world will have to be determined to eliminate the plastic pollution from the world. Let’s take action so that our children and their children don’t face this problem, Let’s take action so that this world becomes a good place for all living beings, Let’s take action before it’s too late, Let’s take action..!