Like our Facebook Page

Early Times Newspaper Jammu, Leading Newspaper Jammu
Breaking News :   India records 64,553 new COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours, tally crosses 24 lakh mark | Two cops martyred as terrorists attack police party in Jammu and Kashmir's Nowgam | Before Sinha, former top cop was probable LG | Detained politicians were enjoying luxurious meals, cool breeze, posh locations | ACB tightens noose around corrupt officials, several Govt Deptts under radar | Strange! XEn figures in final seniority list of 2 departments | Nearly 30 fear-stricken BJP leaders quit party in Valley; Jammu leaders more concerned about advisory council | COVID-19 recovery rate in JK reaches almost 72 percent as 779 more persons recover | Inqlabi appeals LG to review decision on SHGs | PCC constitutes media cells for Doda, Kupwara | Plantation drive held at Munsiff court Akhnoor | GDC Bishnah organizes online inter-collegiate mathematical quiz | Munish Gupta asks government to step in & solve problems of residents | After space crunch, MCCH Anantnag faces shortage of doctors | DLSA Rajouri holds plantation drive at Govt High School Dalogra | Innerwheel Club donates medicines, other items to Vivekananda Hospital | Div Com discusses SOPs with religious heads | PM Modi shall fulfill his promise of ushering democratic rights in J&K: Kavinder | Sit back and think | Webinar Series ‘Meeting The Mentors’ concludes at Govt Polytechnic Jammu | CO of 2 J&K NCC Bn. visits GDC Khour | Defence and Security: Achievements of NDA II Government | Tribute to ‘the Victory Day’ | Crapping of special status gives new status to JK people | PCCF launches plantation under JK Green at Nashri | RMPS organizes online activity | Don’t push J&K youth to hopelessness: Rana | 6 day International Webinar on Public Health concludes | AIJMS donates Rs. 1 lakh to injured person | Welfare scheme for workers; Labour deptt hosts series of awareness camps in Rajouri | Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan: DIC Ramban intensifies implementation process | GGM Sc college celebrates International youth day | GDC Paloura celebrates International Youth Day | SNSSS organizes flute making competition | Nagrota Sangharsh Samiti intensifies stir for Degree College | Independence-Day celebration: Full dress rehearsal held across Jammu | BSF intensifies patrolling in water bodies along IB in Jammu | Team Jammu threatens stir against Govt decision on SHGs, urges LG to intervene | J&K Bank extends 2 pc interest subvention to MUDRA-Shishu borrowers | AIC of SC/ST/OBC Organizations holds zoom meeting of Kulgam cadre | Judicial probe in mysterious missing of three Rajouri boys demanded | Day 81: Jammu, Srinagar Airports receive 25 domestic flights with 3,187 passengers | Govt evacuates 3,09,193 stranded JK residents; 2,13,957 via Lakhanpur, 95,236 through special trains | Chairman OBC PCC Suresh Dogra calls on JMC Com, submits memorandum | SHG Association Poonch opposes abolishment of projects | JKReTTF condemns Principal Secretary School Education statement | Scores of villages in Kulgam district uses contaminated water | Director Horticulture conducts extensive field visit of Distt Jammu | Social Forestry, PWD Departments mute spectators to illegal construction | Class IV posts: 5,07,160 registrations on JKSSB Portal; 2,66,860 candidates submit online application so far | IGP reviews security ahead of I-Day, asks cops to be on alert | GDC Bhaderwah celebrates International Youth Day | MGNREGA Employees Association condemns statement of CS | Mayor JMC visits Ward No 73, launches development works | JAJD-NGO appeals people to celebrate I-Day with simplicity | Need based workers of Forest, Social Forestry deptts suffer as salary denied to them for months now | BNGH successfully conducts Laparoscopic surgery | No Kailash Yatra this year due to coronavirus pandemic | Farmers facing shortage of fertilizers, urea in Samba: Manjit Singh | Govt orders engagement of 200 nurses for six months in medical colleges across | CB Jammu arrested absconding fraudster, murder accused | Govt makes presence of officers above under secretary rank mandatory at this year’s I-Day functions | Allow resumption of mining activity in Samba, demands vehicle operators | Court rejects bail in rape case | Two hideouts of LeT militant outfit busted in Awantipora: Police | Advisor Bhatnagar strengthens grievance redressal mechanism | Notorious criminal detained under PSA | 2 drug peddlers held | JKPYC slams abolishing of SHGs, demands immediate revocation | Court awards rigorous life imprisonment in murder case | Congress opposes disbanding of self-help groups, privatization of PDD | Contractual lecturers, teachers betrayed by BJP govt: Harsh | BJP failed in restoring past glory of Basohli: Manohar | Pakistan afraid of BJP’s rise in Kashmir: Ravinder Raina | Advisor Baseer Khan meets scores of delegations at Chadoora, inspects MGNREGA works | Back Issues  
news details
Paper vs. Plastic: The Shopping Bag Debate!
Today is World Paper Bag Day!!!
7/11/2020 11:53:01 PM
Dr. Pragya Khanna

It was somewhere in early 1980’s when many supermarkets in developed nations switched from using paper bags to plastic since the plastic (polyethylene) bags were thought to be durable and were less expensive. Since then the polythene bag has evolved tremendously and being trendy and stylish became so popular that it completely replaced the traditional material of packing because of its ease of utilization, durability, light weight, waterproof nature, permanence and low cost.
The following article is an updated version of the one I wrote about two years ago on the use of polythene being an unfriendly option and its serious environmental implications. It prompted hundreds of comments and lively feedback.
Keep in mind; this article is written with an intention and broad look at the debate of paper vs. plastic grocery bags. In the recent past when the excessive use of polythene, being non-bio-degradable, started showing its ugly signs that people, Govt., NGOs all started speaking on cutting down its usage and shifting over to a bio-degradable alternative, paper, cloth, jute etc. And everyone knows that in most of the cases it is a paper bag that is considered a convenient choice.
However, it is rather surprising that even paper is considered a bad choice coming to environmental concerns. While convenient addictions both paper and polythene gobble up natural resources and cause significant pollution.
Before you accept a brown bag when out for shopping at an expensive store, consider these environmental disadvantages of paper:
Paper manufacturing causes pollution: According to studies, paper production emits air pollution, particularly 70 percent more pollution than the production of plastic bags. Also, manufacturing paper emits 80 percent more greenhouse gases. The paper bag making process also results in 50 times more water pollutants than making plastic bags. The majority of Kraft paper is made by heating wood chips under pressure at high temperatures in a chemical solution. As evidenced by the unique stink commonly associated with paper mills, the use of these toxic chemicals contributes to both air pollution, such as acid rain and water pollution. Millions of gallons of these chemicals pour into our waterways each year; the toxicity of the chemicals is long-term and settles into the sediments, working its way through the food chain. Further toxicity is generated as both plastic and paper bags degrade.
Energy consuming process: Even though petroleum goes into making plastic, it turns out that making a paper bag consumes four times as much energy as making a plastic bag, meaning making paper consumes a good deal of fuel. All kinds of energy chemical, electrical, and fossil fuel-based is overused to transport the raw material, turn the paper into a bag and then transport the finished paper bag all over the world.
Consumes water: The production of paper bags uses three times the amount of water it takes to make plastic bags; the wood pulp that forms the basic raw material for making paper is washed several times during processing and is then bleached; both stages require thousands of gallons of clean water. For colouring more water is needed in a ratio of 1 part pulp to 400 parts water. The pulp/water mixture is dumped into a web of bronze wires, and the water showers through, leaving the pulp, which, in turn, is rolled into paper.
Inefficient recycling: The process of recycling paper can be wasteful and uneconomical as it often consumes more fuel than it would take to make a new bag. In addition, it takes about 91 percent more energy to recycle a pound of paper than a pound of plastic.
Waste production: According to some measures, paper bags generate 80 percent more solid waste. In landfills, paper bags produce over twice as much atmospheric waste as plastic, making them doubtful as the better choice for the environment.
Biodegrading problems: Astonishingly, the Environment Protection Agency has reported that in landfills, paper does not degrade all that much faster than plastics. Also, paper bags weigh nearly ten times their equivalent in plastic, requiring more fuel to ship them out to stores. Made with chemicals processed at high temperatures, paper bag production releases many toxins into the atmosphere at much the same rate as plastic production.
However, while polythene and other plastic products are considered useful and practical by populace and have become part of our daily routine, they are not friendly, it all began when people started to use and dispose polythene indiscriminately leading to the accumulation of waste polythene, and with no effective disposal system, the environmental consequences led to aggravating the situation.
Rubbish: Today the polythene bags have become a recurrent spectacle at most of the places, we can see them hanging from railings, branches of trees, lying in heaps of refuse, floating on the surfaces of water bodies and finally choking the drains, gutters, sewers causing water and sewage to overflow and become the breeding grounds of germs and bacteria that cause diseases.
Danger to wildlife: A matter of concern is the general practice to pack up the kitchen refuse in a polybag and throw it away. Rarely do the people realize that by doing so they are forbidding the biodegradable kitchen waste to get decomposed freely in the soil by microbes or even allowing the same to be eaten by animals. It is rather common to see cows and other stray animals try to tear open the polythene bags in the lookout for food. It has been reported that many such stray cows die due to consumption of polythene bags and are choked to death due to blockade of their digestive tract following consumption of the toxic polythene bag. In the water bodies many fish and other aquatic animals swallow the plastic garbage thinking them as food items and are consequently choked to death.
Long-term degrading: Light breaks the plastic down, therefore, it photodegrades rather than biodegrades. Estimates say that this process can take up to 500 or even 1000 years in landfills. If polythene bags are burnt for disposal, they release deadly toxics like dioxin and furans, as they are made up of chlorinated compounds, the effects of which on human health are well-documented facts. Dumping of polythene bags in the ground is also not ecologically safe due to their non-degradable nature. Mechanical shredding of polythene reduces the fertility of soil as the shreds get mixed up with the soil particles. Moreover, burying of polythene bags in mountainous regions loosens the grip on vegetation and soil binding, causing landslides. It also makes the soil unsuitable for construction. Thus, it is not safe to throw, dump or even burn the polythene.
Coloured bags: In order to make them elegant and stylish most of the polythene bags are made brightly colored and for adding color various toxic chemicals or binding agents like lead and cadmium are added to the polythene. This color can be hazardous if mixed with any food stuff carried inside colored polythene.
All these factors and more have made the question whether plastic or paper is a right choice. Most environmental groups say that it is best to avoid the choice altogether; instead we should diligently reuse bags. We shall be able to save our environment only when we become aware that environmentally destructive practices threaten everyone’s health and livelihood and no one will be able to insulate him from global warming when the conditions worsen.
The facts are astounding and we could go on and on as to why it is so very important that you stop using paper and plastic now.
• Reusable bags save trees
• Reusable bags save water
• Reusable bags save gas and oil
• Reusable bags help prevent air pollution
• Reusable bags help our oceans
• Reusable bags help our sea creatures
• Reusable bags help our families!
Over a lifetime, use of reusable bags by just one person would save over 22,000 plastic/paper bags. Isn’t that amazing? Best still is to ask store clerks to hand you easily transportable items without bags.
  Share This News with Your Friends on Social Network  
  Comment on this Story  
Early Times Android App
BSE Sensex
NSE Nifty
Home About Us Top Stories Local News National News Sports News Opinion Editorial ET Cetra Advertise with Us ET E-paper
J&K Govt. Official website
Jammu Kashmir Tourism
Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board
Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board
Shri Shiv Khori Shrine Board
Train Enquiry
Jammu Kashmir Bank
State Bank of India
Passport Department
Income Tax Department
IT Education
Web Site Design Services
Jammu University
Jammu University Results
Kashmir University
IGNOU Jammu Center