Assam University’s campaign against plastic and polythene

Silchar, March 1: A small step creates a big difference. Dr. M Gangabushan, assistant professor in the department of Social Work in Assam University a few months back pledged not to use plastic and polythene made materials. He along with his students conducted series of awareness programmes in the neighboring village of Irongmara with a mission to make a "plastic free environment." Today, the campaign, which was started by M Gangabushan, has been taken up by the varsity to make its campus and neigbouring villages free from plastic and polythene which have been wreaking ecological havoc in the vicinity.
As part of the drive, the vendors and consumers are being apprised of the adverse effects of using plastic made materials through presentations, posters, and hand outs. It has stressed on sensitizing shops and commercial establishments to the need to shun plastic bags. The university has prohibited plastic bags and plastic made tea cups in the canteen and shops in the campus.
Dr. M Gangabushan, who has not been using the plastic and polythene made materials for the last one and half years, said that there was an urgent need to make a plastic free environment. "Unless we take action now, we are slowly but surely destroying our environment which will be detrimental to us. It is high time to raise the voice against the use of plastic and polythene," he said.
While talking to this scribe over telephone, Gangabushan said that there were several adverse effects of using plastic bags and materials as these "are difficult and costly to recycle and take around 300 years to photo degrade." Pointing out the ecological and environmental problems of plastic pollution, the anti plastic crusader said that "plastic has become so ubiquitous that the modern society is using it indiscriminately without the knowledge that dangerous chemical substances are getting into the environment and will have adverse effect on our health."
Speaking about the campaign initiated by the varsity, he said that a committee had been constituted to carry forward the movement. The committee has been organising various awareness programmes in and around the campus to garner support for the drive. He said that the student representatives from every department were included in this campaign who would educate their fellow students and the public on the dangers the plastic and polythene posed to the environment.
The committee has also organised a few events in the ongoing Social Week of the varsity to popularise the drive among the students' community. A speech competition will take place on Saturday at Netaji Mukta Manch in the varsity. Yesterday, a poster making competition on the theme of "adverse effect of plastic and polythene" was held.
The leaflets which are being distributed to the people contained the list of harmful effects that are caused by the plastic and polythene. The messages which include among others "the production of plastic bags consume millions of gallons of oil that could be used for fuel and heating. They break down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the soil and waterways and enter the food chain. The cheap bags contain chemicals such as cadmium– or lead– based chemicals that are harmful to health. They leach into vegetables, fruits, meat and food. Plastic when burn releases cancer–causing gases. These are responsible for the deaths of marine animals and birds who eat them or get entangled"
Madhumita Acharjee, a student of law department and a volunteer of the campaign, said that it was the "need of the hour to ban using plastic made materials, otherwise the days are not far when people will suffer from different environment related ailments." She added to say that polythene made materials were the mother of pollution in every corridor of life and "we must use paper, cloth or jute materials, instead of poly bags." (Source:SentinelAssam) 

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