Plastics have become a part and parcel of our day-to-day life. It is not because there are no substitutes for plastics. But often plastic products like carry bags are cheap and easily available. Different varieties of plastic covers are used to package edibles, stationery items, electronic goods, furnishing items, toys, etc. However, this doesn’t mean that plastics are safe. A closer understanding of the harmful effects of plastic will empower us to lessen its toxic effects, reduce its use and come up with environment-friendly alternatives to plastic.
During the United Nations Climate Change Conference – 2015 that took place in Paris, many countries, including India, came forward to tackle climate change by reducing the rate of harmful gas emission. To accomplish this aim, it is important to bring down the use of plastics because this contributes towards environmental pollution to a great extent.
In an attempt to get away from plastics, Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (Milma) has come up with a brilliant idea to device a system wherein milk can be provided through mobile vending machines. This will drastically cut down the use of plastic that is used for packaging milk and will in turn reduce plastic waste.
The Marketing Manager at Thiruvananthapuram Regional Co-Operative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd. says, “We have come up with this idea in order to address two major problems. The first one is this will undoubtedly contribute towards cutting down the use of plastic covers that are non-degradable waste. This will in turn reduce environmental pollution and therefore lessen the issues caused by the use of plastic. Secondly, these mobile vending units will also make it easy for people to collect the desired quantity of milk according to what they can pay.”
As of now, the options are limited and people need to buy one packet of milk and pay the fixed amount, even if they do not need that much.
“If 300 litres of milk is needed for a wedding ceremony or any other function, 600 packets are being used and you can imagine the waste generated. The fact that needs to be considered is that this is just a small quantity. Thousands of plastic covers are being dumped on earth on an everyday basis. Therefore, it is high time we cut down on the use of plastic covers. The new method is exactly the same as that in petrol bunks. One needs to pay only for the quantity he/she wants,” he added.
On an experimental basis, the vending unit has started its operations in Kollam district and the mobile unit visits certain points in the city at fixed timings. The response from public is good, but the authorities are sceptical if people everywhere have the same amount of interest in bringing their own containers and collecting milk. However, they are positive that people will understand the real motive behind this initiative and promote it.
In the second phase, the mobile units will be introduced in the major cities of all districts. Sabarimala is also on the priority list as the region has been announced as a plastic-free zone. Milma authorities are confident that this move will add to the no-plastic resolution at Sabarimala. However, as of now only milk vending machines are possible because curd and other dairy products cannot be pumped using a vending machine.
Main photograph by fdecomite via Flickr.