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Expert Blog: Exercise Plastic ‘Upvaas’ in the COVID World

‘Upvaas’ in Hindi means fasting; plastic ‘upvaas’ means limiting the use of single-use plastic and swapping it with eco-friendly alternatives

Expert Blog: Exercise Plastic 'Upvaas' in the COVID World

New Delhi: Single-use plastic has taken over our lives. The pandemic has become another reason for the world to continue using disposables. There is no place for proper disposal of the amount of waste we generate. It is littered in our streets, parks, sidewalks, public places, among others. This ends up in landfills or the water bodies and oceans. Seeping into the groundwater from landfills, or destroying the marine ecosystem, it enters the food chain and comes back to impact our health.

Also Read: COVID-19 Pandemic Has Thwarted The Fight Against Single-Use Plastic, Say Experts

Almost 90 per cent of all plastic ever created has never been recycled. At the current rate, by 2050, landfills will hold 12 billion metric tonnes and there will be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the oceans, according to an estimate by National Geographic Society. By 2050, Greenhouse gas emissions from plastics would reach 15 per cent of the global carbon budget, says a paper titled ‘Strategies to reduce the global carbon footprint of plastics’ published by an online journal Nature.com. It has become one of the primary reasons for climate change.

So clearly plastic is the real villain?

NO.

Our habit of use and throw is.

What can we do about it?

Plastic Upvaas

Upvaas in Hindi means fasting. We, Indians, take up Upvaas on the most auspicious days for the health and happiness of our families. The world does Intermittent fasting for better metabolism and health. So why not Upvaas on that one thing destroying our health and planet at the same time – Single-use plastic.

Plastic Upvaas is a people’s movement to start by shunning just one single-use item from our lives. It could be a single-use plastic bottle, polythene bag, straw, tissue paper, toothbrush or anything similar. In today’s world, we are saying just shun surgical masks and switch to reusable cloth masks.

Also Read: Replacing Single-Use Plastic, One Leaf At A Time: This 20-Year-Old’s Invention Can Help Tackle The Rising Plastic Waste Crisis

According to a study by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) in May 2020, if only 1 per cent of all of Italy’s COVID waste ends up in the oceans, there would be 10 million new masks at the bottom of the ocean every month. And Italy is not even 1 per cent of the world’s population. Even during our runs and cleanups around the country post the Unlock process, we have seen a new item everywhere – single-use surgical masks. We had not seen a mask littered in the last 4 years of our cleanups across the country. Not only is the COVID waste non-biodegradable but could be categorized as hazardous bio-medical waste. We need to stop now to avoid another crisis at the end of this pandemic.

The surgical masks are made of propylene, a derivative of petroleum, which is a kind of plastic that takes 450 years to decompose. As per a Lancet study in April 2020, the coronavirus can stay up to 7 days on a surgical mask while it doesn’t last for 2 days on cloth. Looking at all the factors, we believe the majority of the population should opt for reusable masks.

Here are some guidelines if you are going in for a DIY (Do It Yourself) cloth mask.
● Two or three-layered mask for maximum protection
● Inner layer to be a hydrophilic material to absorb droplets from your breath. A light coloured cotton fabric is a good choice.
● Outer layer to be a hydrophobic material to repel moisture and droplets. A synthetic material like polyester is a good choice.

You can use these guidelines to check if your mask has enough protection when buying from a shop.

Finally, the problems are too many but should we continue to just blame the authorities and not do something ourselves? No matter how small it is, every drop makes up the ocean. Plastic Upvaas is going to be your contribution to Mother Earth and a Litter Free world.
One less waste, said 7.8 billion people each day!
What’s your #PlasticUpvaas?

Also Read: Will Coronavirus Lockdown Delay India’s Commitment To Phase Out Single-use Plastic By 2022?

(Ripu Daman Bevli is an environmentalist, social activist and founder of Ploggers Of India and is known as the Plogman of India)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

23,96,06,768Cases
20,13,42,617Active
3,33,82,100Recovered
48,82,051Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 23,96,06,768 and 48,82,051 have died; 20,13,42,617 are active cases and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 4:15 am.

India

3,40,37,592 16,862Cases
2,03,6782,908Active
3,33,82,100 19,391Recovered
4,51,814 379Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,37,592 confirmed cases including 4,51,814 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,03,678 and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,86,280 2,384

33,157 6

64,13,418 2,343

1,39,705 35

Kerala

48,29,944 9,246

96,421 1,802

47,06,856 10,952

26,667 96

Karnataka

29,82,399 310

9,607 43

29,34,870 347

37,922 6

Tamil Nadu

26,83,396 1,259

15,451 199

26,32,092 1,438

35,853 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,59,122 540

6,588 27

20,38,248 557

14,286 10

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,008 12

135 4

16,86,976 16

22,897

West Bengal

15,79,012 530

7,576 81

15,52,491 601

18,945 10

Delhi

14,39,311 28

337 1

14,13,885 29

25,089

Odisha

10,33,809 521

4,890 38

10,20,645 477

8,274 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,614 16

203 4

9,91,841 20

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,382 8

42 6

9,45,386 2

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,244 34

215 20

8,15,943 14

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,669 12

111 1

7,82,035 11

10,523

Haryana

7,71,035 16

105 158

7,60,881

10,049 174

Bihar

7,26,016 8

42 6

7,16,313 2

9,661

Telangana

6,68,618 168

4,171 40

6,60,512 207

3,935 1

Assam

6,05,847 207

3,646 157

5,96,263 362

5,938 2

Punjab

6,01,971 33

234 11

5,85,199 16

16,538 6

Jharkhand

3,48,406 11

130 4

3,43,141 7

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,729 28

175 22

3,36,157 6

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,30,834 93

935 11

3,25,473 104

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,113 182

1,387 5

2,16,011 173

3,715 4

Goa

1,77,356 68

679 27

1,73,342 39

3,335 2

Puducherry

1,27,259 49

647 4

1,24,763 53

1,849

Manipur

1,22,432 69

1,444 15

1,19,099 84

1,889

Mizoram

1,10,719 901

13,601 435

96,744 1,332

374 4

Tripura

84,295 4

110 8

83,369 12

816

Meghalaya

82,734 87

892 31

80,411 115

1,431 3

Chandigarh

65,295 10

32 5

64,443 15

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,958 4

202 22

54,476 26

280

Sikkim

31,722 6

224 1

31,108 7

390

Nagaland

31,516 9

230 8

30,613 17

673

Ladakh

20,867 6

44 2

20,615 4

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,675

3 1

10,668 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

2 0

10,312

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,640 3

10 1

7,501 2

129

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