J-K produces over 51,000 tonnes plastic waste per annum

Kashmir generates over 31,000 tonnes, Jammu over 20,000 tonnes

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Municipal Committee Pulwama dumps garbage along roadside in Pulwama
Municipal Committee Pulwama dumps garbage along roadside in Pulwama

SRINAGAR — Jammu and Kashmir is generating over 51,000 tonnes of plastic waste with Kashmir producing 31,000 and Jammu over 20,000 tonnes in a year.

Plastic is the general common term for a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic amorphous solid materials derived from oil and natural gas.

An unnamed senior scientist from J&K Pollution Control Board was quoted by the news agency KNO as having said that 51,710.60 tons of plastic waste are being generated in J&K per year. He said that Kashmir generates 31,375.60 tons of plastic waste per annum while Jammu division generates 20,335 tons of plastic waste per annum.

He said that due to a lack of proper collection and management, the ‘throw away culture’ of plastic results in bags finding their way into the city drainage system and thus choking the drains. He said that littering land by plastic bags presents an ugly and unhygienic scene.

“The littering also reduces the rate of rainwater percolation, resulting in lowering water table levels, and plastics go into the water bodies which are already polluted due to many sources,” he added.

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“Fish and other aquatic animals mistake plastic as food items, plastics become a nuisance because of their non-biodegradability. Animals chew carry bags and sometimes die, soil fertility deteriorates as plastic bags form part of manure and remain in the soil for years. Polythene bags, if burnt, release highly toxic gases like phosgene, carbon monoxide, chlorine, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide besides deadly toxins and require a large area for disposal and there are further waste disposal impacts related to landfills and incineration,” he further said.

He said that during the manufacturing process of polythene carry bags, various harmful components and chemicals like colourants, pigments, plasticizers, antioxidants, stabilizers and heavy metals are used.

Colours used during the process are mostly non-food grade and leach out with other chemicals or components, thus contaminating food and other items carried in these bags. “These chemicals can cause diseases like cancer, degeneration of brain tissues, heart enlargement etc,” he said.

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“Most of us take metals with ready-to-eat food items, if carried in the coloured polythene carry bags like lead through black polythene carry bags, chromium through red polythene carry bags, copper through blue polyethene carry bags and salt of barium through green polythene carry bags,” he said.

He said that the government has been taking steps for the management of non-biodegradable material and has already banned the use of polythene in J&K while public cooperation is of utmost importance.

He said that there are 254 plastic manufacturing/recycling units registered in J&K including 146 in Jammu and 108 in Kashmir. He said that 20.17 MT of illegal polythene and 01.35 MT of SUP were seized during 2020-21 and a fine of Rs 4,83,300 was recovered from defaulters in the same period.

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