Updated: Oct 8, 2020
The recent increase in changing temperatures has made all of us experience a surge in natural calamities across the globe. From landslides, floods and avalanches to droughts and super cyclones, the world has been incurring profound environmental as well as financial loss. While this highly concerning trend is harmful to its immediate aftermath, it is essential to note that these disasters draw their name from the fact that they serve as a host to a whole other branch of problems. One of the lesser-known and often overlooked evils of these tragedies include aggravating the already worrisome state of plastic pollution. The relationship between natural disasters and calamities is one of causation and not correlation. This relationship adds to the dilapidation of the state of our climate, especially in developing countries like India.
The most recent instance of this issue is the increase in plastic consumption and thereby plastic trash in the Sundarbans region after the super cyclone Amphan that hit West Bengal in May 2020. The Sundarbans delta is known for its varied and rare flora and fauna such as the royal Bengal tigers, the mangrove trees and the different species of fish. According to a preliminary survey by the Kolkata Society of Cultural Heritage, 26 metric tones of plastic entered the delta in the form of ration-kits post-cyclone despite it being a Ramsar site and having a strict ban on plastic consumption. A Ramsar Site is a place that is deemed internationally important under the RAMSAR Convention of 1975. Environmentalists fear that these plastic wastes pose a determinable threat to the eco-sensitive region.
The plight of the Sundarbans serves as an instance to the unfamiliar consequences of natural calamities, namely, its contribution to plastic pollution. All of us must understand that these problems do not arise overnight and hence cannot be corrected overnight. While the ration kits are a necessity, it is also possible for us to do it with environment-friendly biodegradable alternatives. Some organisations like ‘A Little Contribution’, a student body organisation based in Kolkata. are proactively avoiding plastic by distributing relief material in jute bags. A little research will help us understand that many more such options are available to us.
Other Referance: https://india.mongabay.com/2020/08/plastic-waste-from-post-amphan-relief-material-could-add-to-pollution-in-sundarbans/