Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Side of the Story: Plastic

“Say NO to plastic!”
“Plastic is a devil in disguise!”
“Plastic causes pollution; it’s an abomination!”

Seriously, people? You really need lessons in conveying messages subtly. I mean, “A devil in disguise”? That wins the prize for the bluntest and the most insulting anti-plastic slogan in the whole wide world.

Oh sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Plastic. (Duh. Guess you already figured that out from my rant.) I also go by the title of “Mankind’s Best Invention.” Versatile, durable, affordable, fashionable etc. are just a few among the long list of positive adjectives that are applicable to me. I know, I’m cool.

But you humans have to jinx everything. Look how fast I went from being the most-loved material to the most-hated one. One minute, I’m in the spotlight for being the wonder-substance and the next thing I know, I’ve made it to the list of “Top 10 things to be banned.” Credit to my persistence for holding my ground.

You guys have been going against me for more than a decade now, badmouthing me, branding me an evil creation that’s about to initiate the apocalypse. Talk about drama. Anyway, I’ve had enough of people dissing me. And now it’s time for ME to have my say.

First of all, I’d like to see you get through a day without me. Not to boast or anything, but mankind has never been, or never will be, dependent on an invention to such a great degree. Just look around, wherever you are, and count how many plastic objects are around you. I bet you’ll get at least five objects in one second.


I’m not exaggerating. From my simpler avatars like polystyrene to special-purpose ones like PTFE – that’s Teflon for you – your lives revolve so much around me. Day-to-day articles like carry bags, ball-point pens, toothbrushes, storage jars, water bottles, disposable cups and plates – okay, I’ll cut short – almost anything money can buy is made of me. Wait, why even bother with money? Even the ATM card you use instead of money is plastic!

So do I have to spell it out that I’m really I-M-P-O-R-T-A-N-T? For heaven’s sake, you guys even have terms like ‘plastic smile’ and ‘plastic snow’ to refer to anything that’s fake! And I don’t think all this recognition is undeserved, by the way; I have several qualities to my credit. ATM cards are way durable than those flimsy pieces of paper called banknotes. Plastic chairs are definitely cheaper than wooden ones. During train journeys, it’s easier to use-and-throw disposable plates rather carry around steel utensils… you get the drift.

Plus, I’m really adaptable. I have innumerous forms – I can come in different shapes, sizes and colours. My adaptability is one of my most prized and useful characteristics; it also makes me quite a ladies’ man. See, plastic is the perfect material for daily-wearable and affordable jewellery. (Gold prices are soaring higher than skyscrapers right now. Maybe I’ll end up being the favourite choice for ornaments in future weddings. Somebody start the trend, please!)

So, as I was saying, no matter how much hue and cry you raise, I’m here to stay. Okay, I’m non-biodegradable. I’m a menace to the environment. But hey, nobody’s perfect! Even the most revolutionary inventions have flip sides. But before launching a tirade against me and blacken my awesome rep, think again. Am I the one polluting the air, water and soil? Am I the one killing animals left and right? Am I really the cause of Mother Earth’s pain?

I take offense to the allegations. I am NOT guilty as charged. And don’t pull the faces of disbelief – I stand by what I said. I am not responsible for all this.

YOU are.

That’s right. YOU humans are the culprits behind environment pollution, not me. You throw me into water bodies, clogging them and killing aquatic life. You throw me on the roadsides, where I get eaten up by some poor stray animal and suffocate it. You choke the supply of rainwater to the soil by carelessly dumping me. You burn me and pollute the air. I am not wreaking havoc on the Earth; YOU are!

I don’t cause all the aforementioned problems, because I’m just a tool in your hands. A product of the servant you call ‘science’. But you have allowed the servant to become your master in the past few years, the motive usually being money, and leading to matters going haywire.

And then you humans foist the blame on science and its products. You blame the governments of being inactive. You blame others of being irresponsible where environment is concerned. You are too engrossed in playing the blame game to do something productive.

You can despise me, ostracize me, alienate me… I don’t care. But since you guys caused all this mess, you have to clean it up YOURSELF. Nobody else is going to do it. No divine force is going to help you. So what can you do?

I’ll be generous and give some words of wisdom for free: start at the basics. Certain situations are best tackled at the grassroots level. The problem with you humans is that you look for huge, grand solutions… in this case, wait for international conferences on saving the nature and all that jazz. Instead, why can’t each person just play his part and implement the 3R policy? (And no, the three R’s don’t stand for rap, rock and R&B. It’s “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”)

Reduce use of plastic (It hurts to say that; but I have to work “for the greater good”) whenever and wherever possible. Reuse and recycle plastic to the best of your ability. Such seemingly insignificant and inconsequential acts can start a revolution. As that old saying goes, “Tiny drops of water together make a huge ocean.”

So what are you waiting for? Get off you lazy selves from the couches and get going! Stop the “let’s-blame-others” habit and get something done. You might be able to extricate yourself from the environmental issues and save the earth. Otherwise, it’s your and your kids’ future on the line.

On that happy note, I rest my case. This is Plastic, aka Mankind's Best Invention, signing off! Ciao!

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