Environmentalists have been in a celebration mode for the last few weeks as several news reports appeared on how well the earth has healed with pollution levels dropping. There have been reports on how the Ganga has finally become clean and that the air purer. People in Jalandhar too are overjoyed to view the Dhauladhar mountain range in Himachal Pradesh.
Photographs of the skies and nature are being circulated in abundance.
Yes, the pollution level is down at present but the party is likely to be short-lived. Reason? The large number of masks, especially the one-time use, disposable ones, and gloves made of plastic material are being used these days in the wake of the spread of coronavirus. These will soon become a problem for the environment.
Fear and panic having reached an unprecedented level, people are buying these eco-unfriendly products in huge numbers.
When disposed of, these will surely take up substantial space in landfills and choke many water bodies just a few months from now. And it’s surprising that few environmentalists and scientists have spoken about this, especially as they have regularly voiced their concerns over a wide range of issues.
Why should the environmentalists not come up with viable cost-effective solutions now? Why do they have to act and be angry later?
“Yes, it may become a problem but what is the solution?” a Gurgaon-based activist, who had been spearheading a campaign against use of plastic, asked rhetorically.
One would have hoped that environmentalists would have come forward with a solution by now—maybe insisted on using cotton cloth which can be washed—as many have suggested—but it is surprising they maintain an intriguing stoic silence over the issue.
The 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist and Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ Greta Thunberg’s ‘how dare you’ speech last year at the United Nations had moved many. Surprisingly, she has not spoken about the threat the environment faces right now due to the mass-scale use of these non-biodegradable products.
Environmentalists and activists must come up with a timely solution and not lament about the disastrous consequences later or else they too should be ready to shoulder the responsibilities of bringing in disaster at a later stage..