In the last couple of years, establishments across Goa have been banding together to support the ban on single-use plastic. In restaurants such as Baba Au Ruhm or Thaal, it is not uncommon to see drinks served without straws, or supplied paper or metal straws when asked. It’s this conscious effort from restaurant owners that have already made a positive impact on the environment, but with the promise of new legislation, this impact is about to get bigger.
What is Single Use Plastic?
As the name suggests, single-use plastic is any disposable plastic item that is intended to be used just once, and then thrown away. This includes, but is not limited to, plastic straws, bags, cutlery, and take-away containers. In the endeavour to be more efficient, we turned to disposable plastic commodities without realising the impact that it would have on the environment. Goa being a coastal state has the most to lose. Because they don’t disintegrate easily, single-use plastic is extremely detrimental to sea life, especially since these non-biodegradable plastics inevitably end up in our waters, where they are often ingested by sea creatures such as turtles, fish, and many others. If that isn’t bad enough, it all comes full circle back to us.
According to nosuckingplastic.org, plastic microparticles are found in the flesh of fish eaten by humans. It’s estimated that more than 90% of us have traces of it in our bodies, stored in our fatty tissues and even showing up in breast milk to be passed on to our children. Plastics pose risks to the brain, blood pressure, human behaviour, and foetal development. It has also been linked with an increased risk of cancer and heart defects.
What is the plan?
In a statement made yesterday by a senior officer from the State Panchayat Department to Press Trust of India (PTI), the government wants to make an amendment to the Goa Non-Biodegradable Garbage Control Act to ensure a complete ban on single-use plastics. The state official has confirmed, “the amendment is currently being drafted and is likely to be introduced during the State Assembly’s monsoon session.” It is expected to come into force from September this year, the official said, adding that it will empower the government to impose fines on those who violate the law and also penalise those who litter in public places. The official went on to say, “The legislation is aimed at banning manufacture, supply, storage and use such plastics in the state.”
What’s the flipside of using plastic?
If this proposed ban of single-use plastic isn’t awesome enough, there’s even better news – Goa has been prepared for this for a long time now. Many of us are already in the habit of carrying and using our own shopping bags at grocery stores, and many restaurants are already moving to paper straws, bags, and biodegradable takeaway containers. But there’s still more you can do. In an article that we recently published about how ‘Eco-living is easier than ever’, we talked about how now more than ever, it has become easier to adopt a clean and green lifestyle in Goa. Thanks to a number of movements and establishments that sell or supply biodegradable or reusable substitutes, we no longer have to rely on plastics. Here are a few great options that you can check out:
- Ecoposro. Ecoposro is Goa’s first zero-waste store situated in Parra. All their produce is sourced from local farms, and they do not any form of plastic packaging. They encourage patrons to bring their own containers for taking home rice and other grains as well.
- Saukhyam. The latest entrant to Goa’s organic lifestyle, Saukyam provides a spacious retreat where you can browse natural, healthy, and environmentally friendly products such as makeup and skin care products for your everyday needs. The store is located in Porvorim.
- Natti’s Naturals. This cafe cum boutique used to be in Anjuna but is now situated in Merces. Their entire menu features food and beverages made using fresh and organic produce, while the boutique features rare and hard to find herbs and ingredients among other items.
- New Earth Gathering. This pop-up that happens every couple of months is a Healthy, Holistic, Community Market. Here you can purchase a variety of products that can help you kick-start your new eco-life – non-toxic bath & body care, original art, handmade and up-cycled jewellery, kombucha, menstrual cups, bamboo toothbrushes, clothes made with recycled fabric, non-toxic cleaning products, and so much more.
What do you think about the ban on single-use plastic? Do you think it’s going to be difficult to say no to plastic straws and bags? Let us know in the comments below.