The Plastic Age

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The Plastic Age is going strong. Plastic rules our lives and how! It’s durable, does not perish, and you don’t need to cut trees to make it. And despite being much frowned upon and debated, plastic has a strong presence in almost every nook of our lives. So deep is the plastic connection that we use the term to refer to anything fake — plastic smile, plastic snow, plastic surgery! Imagine, if the Titanic were made of plastic, it may never have sunk. So while we battle plastic bags choking our drains, we just can’t imagine life without the ever-present plastic which has invaded every sphere of our existence, from the humble safety pins to aeroplane parts, carry bags to cushion filling, anything money can buy to the very card that we call money! That shiny new toy in plastic comes for a song, that. And we have pop songs eulogising plastic and having even li’l ones believe that it’s the best thing to happen — “I’m a Barbie girl, in my Barbie world/ Wrapped in plastic, it’s fantastic…” At the time of the teen pregnancy boom in the USA, high school teens were given plastic babies, the size of real babies, which wailed when hungry or their diapers were soiled (remote-controlled, of course). This was done to give them an idea of the responsibility of raising a real child. And how we cringed at the thought of a plastic baby being treated as a real one! Yet, we continue to buy our children colourful plastic dolls and happily watch them play house with their plastic kitchen set. “Urbanites have stopped leading real lives, everything around us seems so ‘plasticky’. So why buy a stoic wooden toy when the same one in plastic can light up a young face instantly? We all know wood is superior to plastic, but can you imagine a cupboard full of wooden toys? That would be a faux pas in urban homes,” says Annie Thomas, a home-maker in Bengaluru. All that argument is okay, but really, it takes 100 years for a single bottle of plastic to decompose. Now imagine how long it will take...
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