Environmentally Friendly Consumption

LAST year, while global trade slowed down in the second half of 2022, the demand for environmentally friendly goods continued to grow,  according to a report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Trade in green goods, which use fewer resources and pollute less, increased by four percent, reaching a record $1.9 trillion in 2022. Electric and hybrid vehicles, non-plastic packaging, and wind turbines were among the green goods that performed especially well in 2022. The UNCTAD believes that growth in green goods is here to stay, fueled by momentum on climate action. It forecasts that that the market for electric cars, solar and wind energy, green hydrogen, and other environmentally friendly technologies will quadruple in value by 2030 to reach $2.1 trillion. The UN agency also warned that developed countries were seizing most of the economic opportunities related to green technologies, while developing countries were falling behind and urged the international community to support emerging green industries in developing economies through global trade rules and technology transfers.

While the report shows that globally the trend is shifting towards buying green goods, in India and also in our union territory, the situation is largely contrary to this. True, the sales of electric vehicles have picked up in recent years across the country but the trend remains limited to high-end goods only. As far as ordinary day to day goods, people aren’t mindful enough about buying environmentally friendly products. For example, buying food items contained in plastics. In Kashmir, this has become a scourge.

Now the situation is such that polythene is everywhere. There’s hardly any shop in Valley where you can’t get polythene carry bags. Though polythene pollution is a worldwide phenomenon, in Kashmir the penetration seems to be even deeper. Few years ago, research published in the journal Anthropocene revealed that no part of the planet is free of the scourge of plastic waste. Supermarket bags,  compact discs, nylons and other plastics litter roads, croplands and water bodies. The impact has often been highly damaging. The study stated that more than 300 million tonnes of plastic are manufactured every year. But the polythene, the study argued that the humble plastic bag and plastic drink container play a far greater role in changing the planet than has been realized.

Though several times bans have been imposed on the use of plastic bags in Jammu and Kashmir over the last two decades, not much has changed on the ground. The reason is that the bans were never seriously implemented. Here’s hoping that the current government finally gets the act right and ensures not only that the use of plastic is strictly banned but that the use of environmentally friendly products is aggressively promoted.

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