26 July 2005 cannot be forgotten as this was the day when Mumbai city was submerged in water. Many Mumbaikars lost their closed ones, on this day. It all began on at around 2 pm when the city recorded the highest rainfall, eventually leading to a flood that claimed 1100 human and many animals lives too. There were many reasons stated for the flood but the primary and the most vital reason mentioned was use and accumulation of plastic bags which choked the city outlets and did not allow the water to flow out, causing the flood.
This brought the city to an alert. Post the deluge, the city's Municipal corporation, BMC immediately banned the use of plastic bags less than 50 microns and urged all shopkeepers and people to use cloth bags instead, in order to maintain the cleanliness.
But do you think that Mumbaikars today have stopped using plastic bags? The answer is a very clear 'no'. There is a very small population in the city, which has adapted to the use of alternatives such as cloth and paper bags, and that is a sheer shame! Let me ask you this question. Do you carry a plastic bag when you go out for shopping? I am sure the answer is no, as you, me, we all use plastic bags. We choose the ease to buy one, over taking a small step to make our lives better just by carrying one.
One of the shopkeepers, on the condition of anonymity, said, “Many people come to buy vegetables but don't carry plastic bags. In such scenario, we have to sell the products with the condition of giving them a bag for free, and if we don't, they refuse to buy from us. So in such cases, I choose not to face a loss. It's a helpless situation."
Doesn't this portray a lackadaisical attitude of the citizens who don't care about the environment? It obviously does. However, we are not the only one are to be blamed, as we believe the state government is equally responsible. Why is the government not taking any action against the usage of plastic bags and take action against the companies manufacturing the same?
We have all known this from our school days, that plastic isn't good for our environment, especially for the animals who also share the space with us in the city. There have been many cases reported relating to the plastic bags being dangerous for cows and bullocks and many other animals, as they have died by consuming plastic bags. If our neighbouring state - Madhya Pradesh - can ban the use of plastic bags, and change for the better, why can't we?
On this occasion, we tried speaking to BMC officers for the same, but they refused to comment. We wonder why? Nevertheless, we believe that we as responsible Mumbaikars, we have learned our lesson and should pledge not litter henceforth. Further, we hope that the state government will ban the use of plastic bags so that we don't face another 26 July deluge.