Everybody got super-concerned about plastics in 2018. It was the theme for the World Environment Day. But a campaign to 'Ban Plastics' does not work at all. Plastics are too entangled with our lives and economy. Ban plastics? What will the farmers do? Most of the implements are made of plastics now. What will happen to the healthcare industry? Imagine a world of disposable glass syringes!
Even a campaign to ban 'single-use plastics' cannot work. We forget the large scale new economy that's been made possible by 'single-use plastics'. Think of the 'home delivery' industry. Absence of single use plastics will render giants like Amazon to our neighbourhood food joints out of business. Hence, it is understandable that policy towards production of these plastics are a little weak, and more focus is on the end-users to not use and feel guilty. Like most of the environmental problems, we choose not to talk about the kind of economy that gives rise to the problem.
When we were asked to do a book on plastics focussing on the UN mandate of stopping single use plastics, we thought it was more important to understand plastics. We researched for a quick understanding of history, culture, economics, chemistry and future of plastics.
It was meant for young adults. So, we could not be preachy. We presented the content in a playful manner. And the subject called for it. For instance, the history of plastics is so absurd and funny that we made a graphic narrative. The range of plastics products are presented like advertisements. But we did not avoid politics and economics around the issue. How can we? Even the World Economic Forum calls the plastics industry a bad economics.
This book is an original content production by DamageControl, published by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India on World Environment Day, 2018. And launched by no less than the then prime minister of India!
There is a companion book outlining the good work in India on reuse and recycling of plastics.
PS: Do not miss the four and half pages of bibliography.
But let us end with the rejected covers.