While Jammu and Kashmir (JK) government has banned use of polythene bags below thickness of 50 microns, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday has sought complete ban on single-use plastics including cutlery, plates, cups, glasses, bottles, straws, stirrers, thermocol and food packaging.
“Not only is plastic killing the environment, but it is also hazardous to human health,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a communiqué.“JK state generates more than 280 metric tons of plastic waste daily. With no recycling, plastic waste litters the streets or ends up in garbage dumps,” he said.
“Plastic is non-biodegradable. It just sits and pollutes the environment,” Dr Nisar said.
He said plastic releases chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates that are toxic to humans adding that humans are exposed to these chemicals through air, water or food.“When you heat food in a takeaway container or serve it hot on a plastic plate, these chemicals are leached into your food.”
Dr Nisar said exposure to these chemicals is linked to cancers, birth defects and endocrine dysfunction.
Quoting studies he said exposure of pregnant women to phthalates have given birth to babies with genital abnormalities. Also, people with exposure to BPA have increased rate of heart disease and diabetes.
“Many animals consume plastic waste and often choke and die,” Dr Nisar said. “The litter that is being delivered into water is toxic to marine life,” he added. He further said plastic litter blocks the drains and canals that is responsible for repeated flooding in the valley.
“If Maharashtra has imposed blanket ban on single-use plastic in a bid to protect its ecosystem, why not in eco-fragile JK which remains unparalleled in terms of natural beauty and etched on every tourist’s wish list,” said Dr Nisar.