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An alternate to plastic no longer a pipe dream: Bob Andrews’ sustainable innovation

Pollution has always been a global issue for everyone around the globe, every individual is to be blamed for that but how long will Nature resist the load?

In 2019, the global production of plastics reached 368 million metric tons, with 57.9 million metric tons of that amount produced in Europe alone. China is one of the largest producers of plastics in the world, accounting for more than one-quarter of global production. Other than plastic chemical waste products from the factory is also among the large contributor in polluting nature in fact disrupting it. 

According to a report by World Wildlife Fund, around 1 lakh sea animals die every year as a result of plastic pollution which includes whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions. The report also mentioned that around 6 lakh tons of plastic enters the oceans every year. We can assume that the height of comfort human seek is disturbing other living beings as well

The globe is moving towards development and making life easier but leaving a scatted puzzle behind that is pollution. The effects can be seen by the various types of natural disasters occurring so frequently around the world. Due to deforestation and an increase in greenhouse gases, the temperature of the Earth is rising. Global warming is the biggest cause of melting glaciers. In 2019 586 tons of ice melted globally. In India, the Nanda Devi glacier at Uttarakhand faced the same problem, resulting in a tragedy that took the life of more than 10 people and left over a hundred injured.

Landslides, loss of soil fertility are also direct results of pollution.  According to a National Geographic report, more than 75 per cent of Earth’s land areas are substantially degraded, undermining the well-being of 3.2 billion people, according to the world’s first comprehensive, evidence-based assessment. Following which it has been seen that recycling of plastic products can decrease the land pollution.

Sikkim is regarded as one step forward than other states in the field of cleanliness and satiation, after banning of plastic products in the year 1998 the state government has always been working in the field of waste management.  According to the report of State Pollution Control Board Sikkim which conducts air purity test ambient air quality monitoring under the National Ambient Air Monitoring Programme in eight stations in the state of Sikkim, and as per the monitoring conducted during the month of December 2020, the ambient air quality in the state has been well within the permissible limits as per the provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

Waste management and air pollution control is an issue that everyone has to show concern to, as every individual dream of living a healthy lifestyle. 

So when it comes to individual work, a few have been either vocal about their involvement in ecology and sustainability or fully integrated into the business of recycling and repurposing waste. Bob Andrews, a local eco- entrepreneur from Rhenock, East Sikkim falls in the latter category. He has created a product made with biodegradable waste which can replace plastic products

“The material is made of domestic waste with some non-harmful chemicals, it can be used in place of plastics, for instance, carry bags,” explains Andrews. “It is different from plastic products since it can be disposed and degrade while exposed in sun in a certain period of time and it is not harmful to the soil”.

He believes it is time to save, not preserve. “We should not disrupt nature anymore and try and be eco friendly as possible”.

Sikkim’s citizens, or rather, residents of hilly areas (especially the younger generation) has more interest in saving the planet than most others. The geography of these areas is such that untoward aftereffects of global warming will create a massive natural disaster that is not only fatal to the land but to its people. Those who are stepping up to fix things step by step are not recognized as immediately as is needed, whether it be by the government or other stakeholders in private industries. 

People like Andrews are the silver lining. Will they be allowed to shine or will it be too smoggy to see?

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