Surge in single-use plastic threatens environment

Even though nature is on a correction mode in terms of production and consumption of goods during the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of plastic in various forms has again been a matter of concern for one and all.
Pre-pandemic, the restaurants were harping on stylist cutleries. The pandemic not only had forced big and small restaurants to close during the peak of the disease, but it has also set a new norm of dining in with ceramic plates, stainless steel cutleries, glassware and cloth napkins were totally missing from the
table.
They are now replaced with disposable plastic utensils inside the restaurants and for those who still feel the risk of COVID-19, prefer takeaways, packed restaurant food in plastic boxes of different shapes and sizes.
In the given situation and in some cases, dining inside a restaurant is proving to be slightly cheaper than the takeaways. Asked for the reason a restaurant owner said, “There has been a trend for takeaways these days.
Even though the customers have started dropping in our restaurants, many of them prefer takeaways. This has generated a huge demand for disposable plastic packets to parcel food items.”
“For parcels, we need more packets because we have to pack each and every item in separate ones. We are paying slightly higher in the wholesale market as well,” he said.
Ahmed al Shanfari, who takes a keen interest on environment, finds a cumulative effect of dining in disposable utensils inside the restaurant or taking the food away to be consumed at home, on nature.
“This way or that way, all these plastics have to merge into nature. We need to adopt some cautious approach even though this is a necessity in the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, and added that the demand for disposable plastic utensils in the food sector has multiplied several times.
He called for an approach in which such disposable plates and utensils are made of tree leaves or used paper. “Since they are biodegradable, their disposal is easy.”
The impact of high consumption of such plastic materials in a short span of time would be very serious as the world has already been facing the challenge of reducing the use of ‘single-use’ plastic packets, he said, and added that Oman, being a nature-friendly country, has to adopt a pro-active approach to handle the situation.

Kaushalendra Singh
@patkaushal